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Nigeria Battles Food Inflation: Government Unveils ₦2 Trillion Plan to Ensure Food Security

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Nigeria is grappling with a severe food security challenge, as evidenced by skyrocketing food prices. In response, the government has announced a comprehensive plan, spearheaded by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, to bring down prices and ensure food availability for all Nigerians.

Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Abubakar Kyari, acknowledged the gravity of the situation during a press briefing in Abuja. He highlighted data from the National Bureau of Statistics that placed food inflation at a staggering 40.66%.

“Virtually no food item has not had its price raised to a level higher than what a good many Nigerians can afford,” Minister Kyari lamented. Nigerians have resorted to social media with the hashtag #TomatoIsGold, reflecting the exorbitant cost of staple vegetables.

₦2 Trillion Intervention Plan Aims to Curb Food Crisis

To address the crisis, the government has unveiled a ₦2 trillion plan, titled the Presidential Accelerated Stabilisation and Advancement Plan (PASAP). The plan incorporates a multi-faceted approach to tackle both the immediate food shortage and long-term agricultural development.

Key Measures of the PASAP

₦2 Trillion Budget: The government has allocated a significant ₦2 trillion to fund the PASAP initiatives.

Duty-Free Food Imports: A 150-day window for duty-free imports of specific food commodities like maize, rice, wheat, and cowpeas will be implemented. These imported items will be subject to a Recommended Retail Price (RRP) to ensure affordability.

Strategic Grain Reserves: The government plans to import 250,000 metric tons (MT) each of wheat and maize to replenish strategic grain reserves. These reserves will then be used to supply small-scale processors and millers nationwide.

Guaranteed Minimum Price (GMP): The government will collaborate with stakeholders to establish a GMP for specific food items. This will incentivize farmers to increase production and create a buffer against price volatility.

Support for Smallholder Farmers: The government will continue its support programs for smallholder farmers during the ongoing wet season farming cycle and the upcoming 2024/2025 planting season.

Youth and Women Engagement: A strategic program will be developed to engage youths and women in greenhouse farming and cultivating horticultural crops like tomatoes and peppers. This initiative aims to boost domestic production and stabilize prices.

Military and Paramilitary Land Cultivation: The government will collaborate with the Nigerian military to cultivate vast tracts of arable land under the Defence Farms Scheme. Additionally, other paramilitary establishments will be encouraged to utilize their available land for food production.

Livestock Development: The Renewed Hope National Livestock Transformation Implementation Committee will be inaugurated to prioritize livestock development and ensure alignment with the National Livestock Transformation Plan.

Nutrition Security: The plan emphasizes promoting the production of fortified food commodities to enhance nutrition security.

Home Garden Initiative: The government will extend support to scale up the Home Garden Initiative spearheaded by the First Lady’s office. This initiative promotes household-level food production.

Transparency and Accountability: The Presidential Food Systems Coordinating Unit (PFSCU) will manage a dashboard for the President, providing real-time data on the implementation of PASAP initiatives. This ensures transparency and accountability in the program’s execution.

Swift Action and Long-Term Strategies

Kyari emphasized the government’s unwavering commitment to achieving food security and ensuring that no Nigerian goes hungry. He outlined the urgency of the situation, stating, “The government cannot allow this situation to persist.”

The plan combines short-term measures with a long-term vision to build a sustainable and resilient food system in Nigeria, Kyari affirmed.

“My team and I will work swiftly and diligently to actualize these crucial policies for immediate food security while addressing underlying causes for the long term.”

Read Also: Anameje to Fed Govt: Import Food in the Short Term to Mitigate Shortage

The PASAP represents a significant government investment aimed at providing immediate relief through strategic imports and price controls. However, the plan also acknowledges the need for long-term solutions by focusing on bolstering domestic food production through various initiatives.

If You Ask Me

This ₦2 trillion intervention plan represents a significant step by the Nigerian government to tackle the food crisis. The success of the plan will depend on its efficient implementation, transparency, and long-term commitment to building a robust and sustainable food system.

Nigerians will be keenly watching the implementation of the PASAP, hoping that it will bring an end to the current food crisis and ensure a more stable and affordable food supply in the future.

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