Removal of Subsidies Pose Threat to Nigerians’ Access to Food, Says Expert

Prof. Abdulazeez Lawal of UNILORIN’s Department of Agricultural Economics and Farm Management argues that the country’s recent fuel subsidy cuts and currency float have made it more expensive for many Nigerians to buy groceries.

Lawal made these remarks in his “Making Ends Meet With Food Security” talk at the 244th UNILORIN Inaugural Lecture.

He said that between April and May of 2023, the CPI climbed from 22.22 percent to 24.41 percent, using data from the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics, NBS.

The annualized rate of food inflation increased from 24.61 percent in April 2023 to 24.82 percent in May of that year. When compared to, on a year-on-year basis, this was 5.33 per cent point higher than 19.5 per cent reported in May, 2022,” he said.

According to the professor at UNILORIN’s College of Agriculture, an estimated 17 million people will be in risk of food insecurity in October of 2022.

He warned that unless immediate measures were done to curb the escalating cost of food, Nigeria will stay among the countries experiencing severe hunger.

Lawal hypothesized that one of the main components of the food system globally is agriculture and it is also the most important economic sector with a high level socio-economic relevance for many countries.

This, he explained, relates to issues of rural revitalization, food security, and job creation.

Given this, agriculture appears to be many countries’ sole viable option for driving economic and social development in the near future.

More than 80% of the food we eat comes from small holder farmers. People in rural areas have the lowest access to food and money, making them more vulnerable to food insecurity in all countries.

With a population of over 200 million, the expert noted that the vast majority of Nigerians (about 80%) rely on subsistence farming.

He suggested increasing food supply and the income of farming households by enhancing agricultural productivity and rural livelihood activities.

Lawal urged governments of all sizes to invest more money in and more efficiently administer food security programs.

He argued that the government should implement a policy approach to promote the spread of agricultural technology and the adoption of cutting-edge farming practices by small-scale producers.

The agriculturalist also suggested that the government implement development and peace building initiatives to address problems in war-torn regions. (NAN)

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