The candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in the 2023 presidential election, Mr. Peter Obi has said Nigeria food insecurity remains a big threat to the country’s underdevelopment and the neglected sector which is agriculture is a crucial industry to give adequate attention in order to enhance the country’s economy.
Obi, who made the assertion on Monday when he visited the headquarters of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), blamed the worsening level of inflation in the country on the abandonment of agriculture.
He explained that solving the problem of food insecurity will help to eradicate hunger and combat food inflation.
According to him, “Our obvious neglect of agriculture is the cause of hunger and food insecurity, resulting in the high food inflation rate we have today.
“Lack of investment in agriculture has resulted in the high level of hunger and poverty in the country today.”
Obi noted that in the 2023 Global Hunger Index, Nigeria ranked 109th out of the 125 countries measured, which he added was an indication of a serious hunger level in the country.
“Our food inflation rate is currently at 33 per cent, signifying that more concerted efforts need to be made in moving our nation from consumption to production, in the agricultural sector,” he added.
He maintained that Nigeria could earn more from agriculture than it presently earns from oil, adding that the biggest assets of Nigeria 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.
Praising the management and staff of IITA, he said that their significant contributions to Nigeria’s agricultural sector, especially in ensuring higher agricultural productivity, is commendable.
He therefore encouraged them to do more by working more closely with local farmers and agricultural stakeholders to enhance farming practices and agricultural productivity.
He added that this would enable IITA to ensure that their research outcomes and innovations are effectively disseminated and adopted, leading to tangible improvements in the agricultural sector.