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April 17, 2024

Reps to Convene National Summit on Food Security, Nutrition

In an effort to tackle the menace of food scarcity across the country, the House of Representatives on Wednesday unveiled plans to organize the national summit on food security and nutrition.  

The resolution was passed sequel to the adoption of a motion on food scarcity in Nigeria, nutritional dangers and the urgent need for more government remedial measures to address food shortages ahead of the rainy/farming season, sponsored by Hon. Chike Okafor, who called for the House intervention.

During his lead debate, Okafor lamented the “spreading issue of food scarcity in Nigeria and the impending nutritional dangers that accompany it, and called for urgent action towards proffering lasting solutions to the challenges.

His words: “As we approach the farming season, it is imperative that we take immediate action to avert a worsening crisis and ensure the availability of food and the well-being of our citizens.

“The House is aware that the current state of food scarcity in Nigeria poses a grave threat to the health and livelihoods of millions of our people. Insufficient access to nutritious food not only leads to hunger and malnutrition but also exacerbates existing health conditions and undermines the overall development of our nation.

“The House is also aware of the various positive interventions by Mr. President, Sen. Bola Ahmed Tinubu (GCFR), and the commitment of Mr. Speaker, Rt. Hon. Tajudeen Abbas in the 10th National Assembly Legislative agenda for the wellness and wellbeing of Nigerians, it is worthy to note that the rainy and farming season is fast approaching, and the looming spectre of food shortages looms large.

“Without adequate remedial measures in place, we risk plunging our country into deeper turmoil, with far-reaching social, economic, and political implications, hence the need for a purposeful gathering and more government import waivers for farming and agricultural equipment in Nigeria.

“The House is worried that nutrition and food is the most important existential challenge in Nigeria today, because 24.9 million Nigerians are presently in an acute/critical stage of hunger, and this is considered to be an emergency, while 85.8 million Nigerians have insufficient food consumption and out of this number, 47.7 million Nigerians have a crisis or above crisis level in terms of food-based survival margin.

“The House is also worried that peaceful protests are taking place now in some states with citizens groaning due to hunger and demanding immediate government intervention.

“The House is cognizant that the government needs to increase resources to support smallholder farmers and agrarian communities, ensuring they have the necessary inputs, tools, and infrastructure to enhance food production through short-term subsidies as the government continues to strengthen the existing food distribution networks and mechanisms to ensure equitable access to essential food items across all regions of the country.”

However, in the bid to address the challenge, the House tasked the Federal Government to improve on short-term food subsidies, assistance to farmers, especially those engaged in dry season farming, improved supply chain control to reduce wastage, and short-term price control.

The House also mandated its committee on nutrition and food security in conjunction with the House Committee on Agriculture Production and Service and Committee on Agriculture College and Institutions to urgently organize the National Food Security and Nutrition Summit.

The House equally mandated all relevant Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), and private sector partners to actively participate in the summit and contribute towards the formulation of comprehensive solutions to ensure more legislative input for food security and nutrition for all Nigerians.

To this end, the House mandated its Committee on Nutrition and Food Security and other relevant committees to ensure compliance and report back to the House within three legislative weeks.

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