In a bid to address the rising food inflation crisis in Nigeria, President Bola Tinubu has declared a state of emergency on food security and unveiled a series of immediate interventions aimed at ensuring food availability and affordability for all citizens,leadership report.

Speaking at a media briefing on Thursday, Special Adviser to the President on Special Duties, Communications, and Strategy, Dele Alake outlined the details of the presidential intervention on food security, food pricing, and sustainability.

Recognising the impact of soaring food prices on ordinary Nigerians, he said President Tinubu has prioritized the support of the most vulnerable members of society.

According to him, the President’s immediate response includes the announcement of a state of emergency on food security and the inclusion of food and water availability and affordability within the purview of the National Security Council.

He said to combat the crisis, a range of initiatives will be implemented in the coming weeks, addressing both short-term and long-term interventions.

He said “as a hands-on- leader who follows developments across the country everyday, Mr. President is not unmindful of the rising cost of food and how it affects the citizens.

“While availability is not a problem, affordability has been a major issue to many Nigerians in all parts of the country. This has led a significant drop in demand thereby undermining the viability of the entire agriculture and food value chain.

“Accordingly, in line with this administration’s position on ensuring that the most vulnerable are supported, Mr. President has declared, with immediate effect the following actions:

“That a state of emergency on food security be announced immediately, and
that all matters pertaining to food & water availability and affordability, as essential livelihood items, be included within the purview of the National Security Council.

“As a direct and immediate response to this crisis, a number of initiatives will be deployed in the coming weeks to reverse this inflationary trend and guarantee future uninterrupted supplies of affordable foods to ordinary Nigerians.

“As with most emergencies, there are immediate, medium-and long-term interventions and solutions.

In the immediate term, Alake said the government plans to allocate funds previously saved from fuel subsidy removal to revamp the agricultural sector, focusing on increasing productivity.

Alake revealed the immediate intervention strategies, stating, “We will immediately release fertilizers and grains to farmers and households to mitigate the effects of the subsidy removal.”

Additionally, Alake said the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Water Resources will work together to ensure adequate irrigation of farmlands, facilitating year-round food production and eliminating seasonal farming.

To stabilize food prices, he said a National Commodity Board will be established, consisting of various stakeholders from the agricultural sector.

According to him, this board will continuously assess food prices and maintain a strategic food reserve, acting as a price stabilizing mechanism for critical grains and other food items.

Ensuring the safety of farmers and farmlands is a priority, the presidential spokesman said the government will collaborate with the security architecture to protect them from attacks, enabling them to carry out their work without fear.

He said the Central Bank will continue to play a significant role in funding the agricultural value chain, while land banks will be activated to increase the availability of arable land for farming.

He said mechanization companies will be engaged to clear more forests and make them suitable for farming purposes.

In addition, Alake said river basins will be utilized to enable crop planting during the dry season through irrigation schemes, ensuring continuous farming production throughout the year and addressing seasonal scarcity.

According to him, transportation and storage challenges will be addressed by exploring alternative means of transportation, such as rail and water transport, to reduce freight costs.

He said existing warehouses and storage facilities will be revamped to improve efficiency and minimize food waste.

He further explained that the interventions put forth by President Tinubu’s administration aim not only to ensure food security but also to stimulate the export capacity of the agricultural sector, increasing revenue and creating employment opportunities.

The presidential spokesman added that the Nigerian Customs has pledged to remove bottlenecks related to trade facilitation, enabling smoother transportation, storage, and export of food items.

Alake emphasized the significance of these interventions, stating, “One of the major positive outcomes of these interventions will be a massive boost in employment and job creation.”

With agriculture already accounting for about 35.21 percent of employment in Nigeria, he said the government aims to double this percentage in the long term, creating between 5 to 10 million more jobs within the agricultural value chain.

He said President Tinubu’s administration recognizes the vital role of food and water in the well-being of Nigerians and urges all citizens to support the success of these strategic interventions.

He said the government remains committed to ensuring that no household struggles with their essential needs, as President Tinubu works diligently to deploy all necessary interventions efficiently and effectively.


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