Nigeria Declares Food Security Emergency Amid Inflation

Authorities in Nigeria have declared a national emergency on food security as a result of record inflation, which has made many basic foods unaffordable and increased the rate of malnutrition.

After Nigeria controversially ended a lengthy, expensive fuel subsidy, food prices skyrocketed. According to officials, those funds will instead be used for the agricultural industry and to help farmers and households that are struggling with high prices by giving them grains and fertiliser.

Following a meeting with the president, Dele Alake, the adviser to President Bola Tinubu on special duties, communication, and strategy, declared an emergency regarding food security during a news conference in the capital on Thursday.

He claimed that the decision was made in response to inflation and Nigerians’ inability to purchase basic foods.

The National Security Council was mandated by the president to oversee all issues relating to the affordability and availability of food and water.

To lessen the effects of the subsidy removal, authorities also ordered the immediate release of grains and fertilisers to farmers and households.

In late May, Nigeria’s president halted the pricey subsidy payments and pledged to use the money for other crucial initiatives.

Alake stated that in the upcoming weeks, government agencies would use savings from the removal of fuel subsidies to revitalise the agricultural sector.

The strategic food reserve, which will be used as a price stabilisation mechanism for essential grains and other food items, will be maintained, he said, and a national commodity exchange board will be established and supported.

The spokesperson for the president added that authorities would strengthen the security framework to safeguard farmers. He declared that the water and agriculture ministries would collaborate to ensure irrigation for farmers so they could grow food all year long.

Before the government ended the fuel subsidy, Nigeria was already experiencing its worst inflation in nearly two decades, with an annual rate of 22.4%. Exchange rate volatility, widespread insecurity, and the effects of climate change all contributed to the high inflation by reducing the availability of agricultural products on the market and raising food prices.

The government must take climate change into account in its new plans, according to economist Isaac Botti of Social Action Nigeria, a group that works to advance democracy, social justice, and human rights in Nigeria’s energy, economic, and other sectors.

“How do we deal with the effects of climate change when discussing food security? How can we deal with the issue of insecurity as well? No matter what strategy is employed, it will be difficult to actually meet the goals set by the federal government if there is no programme in place to address climate change “said he.

Authorities have warned citizens of possible risks this year after Nigeria experienced its worst flooding in a decade last year.

The All Farmers Association of Nigeria’s Kabiru Ibrahim welcomed the government’s action but argued that it was too late in the year for farmers to be receiving seeds and fertiliser.

“The president made a wise choice, Ibrahim said, but we want to see them follow through on their words. The distribution of fertilisers, however, is a bit out of date for this year. It could be utilised once more the following growing season. When all of these issues are resolved, Nigeria will be on the path to achieving food security.”

On Thursday, Tinubu requested that lawmakers approve a $800 million loan from the World Bank in order to provide a $10 monthly stipend to 12 million households.

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