The Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party in the February 2023 election in Nigeria, Mr Peter Obi, has said solving the problem of food insecurity in Nigeria, which will help to eradicate hunger and combat food inflation, should top governance priority.
Obi who made the remarks in Ibadan where he visited the headquarters of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), said the worsening level of inflation in the country is occasioned by the obvious abandonment of agriculture resulting in food insecurity.
He expressed his appreciation to the management and staff of IITA for what he described as their very significant contributions to Nigeria’s agricultural sector, especially in ensuring higher agricultural productivity.
- He encouraged them to do more by working more closely with local farmers and agricultural stakeholders to enhance farming practices and agricultural productivity. This, Obi said, will help IITA to ensure that their research outcomes and innovations are effectively disseminated and adopted, leading to tangible improvements in the agricultural sector.
Obi maintained that agriculture remains a very critical sector in Nigeria’s economy and should not be neglected. “Our obvious neglect of agriculture is the cause of hunger and food insecurity, resulting in the high food inflation rate we have today,” he said.
“Lack of investment in agriculture, he argued, has resulted in the high level of hunger and poverty in the country today. In his words, “In the 2023 Global Hunger Index, Nigeria ranked 109th out of the 125 countries measured, showing a serious hunger level in the nation. “Our food inflation rate is currently at 33%, signifying that more concerted efforts need to be made in moving our nation from consumption to production, in the agricultural sector.”
Speaking further, Obi stated that aside from achieving food security, Nigeria could earn huge foreign exchange from agriculture. “I have maintained consistently that Nigeria could earn more from agriculture than it presently earns from oil. I have also said that the biggest assets of our nation are the vast uncultivated lands in the North. If we invest in agriculture and fully explore our fertile lands, we will not only end hunger and eradicate poverty but drive down inflation and earn huge amounts of foreign exchange through agricultural exports,” Obi said.
“Our mission remains to move Nigeria from consumption to production as this will help us to achieve the New and productive Nigeria of our dreams,” Obi concluded.