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80% Surge In Food Importation Alarming - FG

The federal government says there is an alarming surge of over 80 per cent in food importation between 2019 and 2023.

Kingsley Uzoma, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Agribusinesses and Productivity Enhancement (SSAP), disclosed this at the national policy dialogue on Thursday in Abuja.

The policy dialogue is tagged “Deepening Partnership for Scaling-Up of Information and Communication Technology for Development (ICT4D) for Smallholder Farmers in Nigeria.”

It was organised by the federal government, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the National Information and Technology Development Agency (NITDA).

He said that no fewer than 88.5 million Nigerians were faced with insufficient food consumption, while the figure was projected to increase by six million in December.

Mr Uzoma said the federal government was committed to reversing the trend. He identified a decline in agricultural capacity as a major contributor as the country was forced to rely heavily on food imports.

He said the country had the highest rate of stunted children globally and added that 70 per cent of the population lived below the poverty line, and food inflation stood at 31.52 per cent in October.

“This escalating dependence on external sources further intensifies the challenges within the domestic food landscape, all of which have resulted in the declaration of a state of emergency in food security by Mr President,” he said.

He identified sustained efforts at digital literacy and collaboration by agencies and the private sector as critical in ensuring greater technology adoption by smallholder farmers.

Mr Uzoma said such efforts could translate to improved productivity, extensive technical upscaling, promotion of best practices, increased trade competitiveness and market access.

The presidential aide said it was essential to apply a twin approach of developing critical technology enabling infrastructure in partnership with the universal service provision fund and mobile network operators while driving low-technology solutions such as USSD and WhatsApp to increase accessibility.

He said collaboration between the agriculture ministry and NITDA was necessary to leverage technology to advance the agriculture sector. 

“This includes empowering one million women, youths and minorities to achieve food and nutritional sovereignty, ensuring food security and heightened agricultural productivity.

“It is also to achieve a 22 billion dollars import substitution of high-value crops like wheat, implement sustainable agricultural practices to promote environmental conservation and mitigate climate change,” he said.

Dede Ekoue, IFAD country director, said the dialogue was to strengthen partnerships for enhanced access of smallholder farmers to digital solutions.


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