Food insecurity in Nigeria is continuously being aggravated by myriad of factors, including communal conflicts and most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic. The presence of insurgents, in addition to violent clashes between herders and farmers, has further compounded the problem.
The existing conflict and banditry operations have added to food-supply constraints, further pushing up costs already fueled by import restrictions. Food prices are growing more rapidly than it has in over 15 years and consumer inflation reached 18.2 per cent in March.
The country’s food insecurity can also be attributed to poor funding for sustainable policies, limited mechanised farming, poor rural development and prohibitive practices that disenfranchise female farmers. The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the hunger situation, affecting food supply and prices.
President Muhammadu Buhari says his administration will use all available resources and manpower in dealing with bandits to ensure access to farms and food production in the coming season.
“The law enforcement agencies are working hard to regain confidence against bandits, so that we can go back to the land.
“This is very important. This is what the agencies are busy doing right now. We want people to go back to the land so that we can get enough food for the country and even export,” he said.
The minister of Agriculture, Alhaji Mohammed Sabo Nanono while speaking to stakeholders at the 44th National Council on Agriculture and Rural Development meeting in Abuja recently with the theme “Agriculture and Food Security in the face of COVID-19, Floods and Insecurity” said the federal government has launched various agricultural programmes towards ensuring food security in the country.
“As a stop-gap intervention, we launched the Agric for Food and Jobs Programme, originally conceived as an input loan for smallholder farmers across several commodities including maize, rice, cotton, groundnut, sorghum, cowpea, soybean, sesame, cassava and oil-palm.
In a chat with the spokesman for National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Manzo Ezekiel, he said the agency has been mandated to prosecute the Emergency Agricultural Input Intervention programme for farmers affected by flooding.
“Mr President has approved the Emergency Agricultural Input Intervention programme, we are go to give the farmers seeding and fertiliser, that is those farmers who were affected by flooding.
“Already enumerating of the beneficiaries for the agric intervention has commenced our officers both at the head office and the zonal offices have been mandated to go to the locations immediately which includes all the 36 states and the FCT.”