NESG Expresses worry over shortfall in food Production

NESG EXPRESSES WORRY OVER SHORTFALL IN FOOD PRODUCTION Logo of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group

The Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) has expressed concern over the declining rate in the cultivation of food crops by farmers due to insecurity.

This shortfall according to the NESG has forced the country to import more food products than it should be importing.

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The Chief Operating Officer of the NESG, Dr Tayo Aduloju who stated this in Abuja at the Agriculture and Food Security Nexus Validation and Consolidation Meeting, said there is a huge supply-demand gap across all food crops, as the country is not producing enough to meet local demand.

Mr Aduloju, who is also the Project Director for the High Level Forum on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), said there is a need for an urgent action to act for the country to be food-sufficient.

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He also called for collective collaborative response to halt the demand and supply deficit and possibly to expand agriculture to be a net surplus trade centre for the country.

He said: “Some of the jobs we are creating in agriculture remain unsustainable; we are importing more agric products than we are exporting.

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“The cultivation rate is going down. There is a need for urgency to act, there are things we can do internally and externally to make things better.

“This is impacting heavily on our ability to meet the sustainable development goals 2030.”

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Also, the co-chair, private sector, Agriculture and Food Security Policy Commission of NESG, MR Omoboyede Olusanya said reduced incomes and disrupted supply chains, chronic and acute hunger were on the rise in Nigeria due to various factors that include farmer-herder conflict, socio-economic conditions, natural hazards, climate change and pests before COVID-19 broke out.

According to him, the COVID-19 pandemic has slowed down, halted or reversed the last few years’ hard gains.

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He noted that the country is not on track to meet the SDGs without a sustained deliberate, decisive and collaborative approach.

In his remarks, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Ernest Umakhihe, said the Federal Government has come up with the National Agricultural Technology and Innovation Policy (NATIP) 2022-2027 to reposition the sector.

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To reposition the sector, he noted that NATIP is the prevailing framework for promoting research and extension service delivery, access to finance and insurance, agricultural land productivity, and rural community livelihood. In this regard, in place are the ministerial deliverables for the agriculture sector as part of government priorities.

The deliverables, he said, include land and climate management services and private sector- driven mechanisation programme for enhancing crop yield per hectare, agricultural extension services delivery of increasing the number of extension agents available to farmers and ensuring m adoption for increasing agricultural output, and Farm Inputs Support to rural farmers to steadily facilitate all year round agricultural production.

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