President Bola Tinubu has made a significant declaration by announcing a state of emergency on food security in Nigeria. This proactive step aims to address the pressing issue of food availability and affordability within the country.
During a briefing with State House correspondents, presidential spokesman Dele Alake disclosed this crucial development. The President has directed the National Security Council to expand its scope to encompass matters pertaining to food and water availability as essential elements of livelihood.
The declaration aligns with the Tinubu administration’s commitment to supporting vulnerable segments of society. Mindful of the impact of rising food costs on citizens’ wallets, President Tinubu intends to implement measures to alleviate these effects.
One of the immediate actions taken by the President is the prompt release of fertilizers and grains to farmers and households. This intervention aims to mitigate the consequences of subsidy removal.
President Tinubu emphasized the urgent need for collaboration between the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Water Resources. Their concerted efforts will ensure adequate irrigation of farmlands, enabling year-round food production. The President stressed, “There must be an urgent synergy between the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Water Resources to ensure adequate irrigation of farmlands and guarantee year-round food production.”
As part of these initiatives, the establishment of a National Commodity Board is in progress. This board will review and continuously assess food prices, in addition to maintaining a strategic food reserve that acts as a price stabilization mechanism for critical grains and other food items. Through this approach, the government aims to moderate fluctuations in food prices.
The President acknowledged several stakeholders who will support these intervention efforts. These stakeholders include the National Commodity Exchange (NCX), Seed Companies, National Seed Council and Research Institutes, NIRSAL Microfinance Bank, Food Processing/Agric Processing associations, private sector holders and Prime Anchors, smallholder farmers, crop associations, and fertilizer producers, blenders, and suppliers associations.
President Tinubu reaffirmed the commitment to safeguard farms and farmers from attacks, stating, “We will engage our security architecture to protect farms and farmers, allowing them to return to their lands without fear of attacks.”
The President acknowledged the pivotal role played by the Central Bank of Nigeria in funding the agricultural value chain, assuring that this support will continue.
Efforts to increase the availability of arable land for farming are also underway, with 500,000 hectares already identified and mapped for this purpose.
Tinubu expressed the intention to boost revenue from food and agricultural exports, recognizing the significance of promoting these sectors to bolster the economy.