Food security: FG assures Reps of commitment to tackle inflation, boost production 

Elizabeth AtimeMarch 1, 20244 min

The Speaker decried the food crisis rocking Nigeria exacerbated by climate change, rising inflation, and pervasive insecurity saying the role of the Committee was very crucial.

The Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, Atiku Bagudu, on Thursday, restated the government’s commitment to put in place measures that will ensure adequate nutrition and food security for Nigerians.

The Minister gave the assurance when he appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Nutrition and Food Security chaired by Rep. Chike Okafor (APC, Imo).

According to him, “Nigeria has done very well and supported by different stakeholders, particularly the government of President Bola Tinubu, have appreciated the nutrition and food security challenges.

We have the National Food Security Council Chaired by no less a person than the Vice President, Kashim Shettima. We are participants in the United Nations Food System Transformation as well as the institutional alignment through the Ministry of Agriculture being recognised as the Ministry of Agriculture and that of Food Security.

This is commendable. We recall that in the last administration under former President Muhammadu Buhari, a national security council was created chaired by the President himself and I was privileged to be the Vice Chair of that council.

“What led to it is the recognition that food security is not an agriculture issue, not a health issue, not an environment issue, not a physical security issue. It is all of it. So we need to have stakeholders around the table so we can appreciate, we can do better. The same thing with nutrition.

“The House of Representatives is helping in addressing the challenges. Mr President has recognized these issues and is committed to addressing them.”

On his part, the Speaker of the House, Rep. Tajudeen Abbas, decried the food crisis rocking Nigeria exacerbated by climate change, rising inflation, and pervasive insecurity saying the role of the Committee was very crucial in respect of the vision of the House to be responsive, results-oriented and effective in performing its constitutional mandate towards the security and welfare of Nigerians.

According to him, “Malnutrition currently impacts 35 million children under the age of five, among whom 12 million are stunted, 3 million are wasted, and 23.5 million suffer from anaemia. An additional 17.7 million individuals are facing hunger, with 2.6 million children confronting severe acute malnutrition in 2024. Among women of childbearing age, 7% experience severe acute malnutrition. These figures may be exacerbated due to the current food inflation rate, which stands at about 33.7% (according to the Central Bank of Nigeria).

“Furthermore, the World Food Programme’s September 2023 publication of the ‘Nigeria Hunger Map’ estimates that 24.9 million Nigerians are in an acute or critical stage of hunger, categorized as an emergency, while 85.8 million Nigerians have insufficient food consumption. Among this population, 47.7 million Nigerians resort to crisis-level or above-crisis-level food-based coping strategies.

In his remarks, the Chairman of the Committee, Rep. Okafor applauded the House leadership for setting up the specialized Committee which focuses on food security and nutrition.

“This is the first time in the history of the Legislature in Nigeria that the leadership of the House thought it necessary to set up a distinct and exclusive Committee for greater legislative attention to critical interventions in the cross-cutting issues of food and nutrition.

“The creation of this Committee would serve as a swift response to the present economic realities, especially the current unaffordability of basic foods in Nigeria arising from uncontrolled inflation and scarce means,” he said.

Elizabeth Atime

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