Following the heavy flooding that has taken over homes and farmlands in some parts of the country, members of the organised private sector (OPS) and agric stakeholders have joined the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) to advise that Nigerians prepare for severe food crisis. Already, reports had shown that floods had taken over many agricultural host communities with adverse impact on farming and farmlands, affecting over 2.5 million persons, out of which, 1.3 million have been displaced, 2,407 injured, and 603 dead. An agronomist and entrepreneur, Duro Kuteyi, who is the Managing Director of Spectra Industries Limited, warned that the country’s food basket was at risk.
Kuteyi, who made this known at an event by the organisation to mark the 2022 World Food Day recently in Lagos, said unless banditry and flooding are urgently addressed by the Federal Government, food crisis was inevitable. The entrepreneur, therefore, urged the Federal Government and other stakeholders to, as a matter of urgency, save Nigeria from an imminent food crisis by setting a workable agenda for food security in the country. Furthermore, he called for strategies to address the current challenges of banditry and devastating flood that have made it difficult for farmers to access their farms unhindered. According to him, while the rest of the world is fighting hard to curb factors such as the climatic change, which is a big threat to food security, the major threat in Nigeria is the uncontrollable level of terrorism and banditry.
Also, Kuteyi warned that the current rate of inflation and escalation of food prices would be a child’s play by 2023, if urgent measures are not taken to ensure that farmers are allowed to farm without the fear of being kidnapped or the current practice where bandits force farmers to pay royalties and taxes on their farms. He said: “It is either the Federal Government does not know the future impact of what is happening in Nigeria today, or they lack the political will to confront banditry and terrorism so as to make the environment safe for farmers to have unhindered access to their farmland. “What we have on ground today is already having a huge negative impact on manufacturers, who no longer have enough raw materials that used to come from local farmers.
“The first three months in the life of the administration that will emerge in 2023 will determine whether Nigeria will be saved from the food crisis or not. “Once there is a commitment from the new government on tackling banditry and terrorism, then Nigeria can be assured of food security and that can be determined within the first three months of the administration otherwise, Nigerian should brace up for tougher time next year.”
Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) also raised the alarm that inflation and others would see many more production activities constrained in Q4’20. Also, the chamber admitted that it was concerned by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) reports about the livelihoods of 345 million people who are in immediate danger from acute food shortage, insecurity, persistent shocks, due to the pandemic and Russia-Ukraine war. President of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Dr. Michael Olawale-Cole, had recently warned during his address on the state of the economy in Lagos that growth of 1.2 per cent recorded for agriculture and three per cent for manufacturing sectors in Q2’22, indicated that threats were facing the country’s real sector of the economy and it is expected to be monumental on GDP growth. Olawale-Cole said: “The growth of 1.2 per cent recorded for agriculture and three per cent for manufacturing are comparatively low compared to other sectors that grew above five per cent. “This also indicates threats facing these sectors that power Nigeria’s real sector. “The woes in these two sectors are responsible for the frightening rise in our inflation rate and with the excruciating burden of debt service, subsidy payments, and worsening insecurity, many more production activities may be constrained in the coming months.” According to him, “we await the IMF’s World Economic Outlook release in October 2022. Global growth will likely remain low up to 2023-2024, depending on the length of disruptions and the effectiveness of policy interventions.” Already, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq, had recently highlighted Nigeria’s preparedness to meet with the Government of the Republic of Cameroon over the release of water from Lagdo Dam, noting that the resultant flood affected over 2.5 million persons, out of which, 1.3 people are displaced, 2,407 persons injured, and 603 persons lost their lives. The Minister said about 121,318 houses were partially damaged, 82,053 totally damaged, 108,392 hectares of farmlands partially damaged and 332,327 hectares totally damaged. She stated that the meteorological agencies were warning that states like Anambra, Delta, Cross River, Rivers and Bayelsa are still at risk of experiencing flooding up till the end of November.