The Minister of Agriculture, Food, and Security, Abubakar Kyari, has expressed apprehension about the scarcity of food in the nation.
While appearing before the Senate on Friday, February 9, Kyari pointed out that the outgoing government failed to plan for Wet-season cultivation.
In his words;
‘’Today we have the challenge of affordability of food and also availability in some cases. We have been challenged over a period of time since COVID. It had its impact on Agriculture like in all other sectors. If you remember the flooding of 2021 and 2022 and also the Naira redesign of 2022-2023. Just at the point of harvest in 2022, government came out with the policy of change of Naira and that really impacted on the availability of cash.
In early 2023 when farmers were preparing for planting, they had no cash and access to capital for farmers is very key and there was no access for farmers and in addition, an exiting government did not plan to do the wet season cultivation for 2023. There was no direct intervention by government against the 2023 cultivation and this also impacted on the quantum of harvest in 2023. We are have not had any harvest since the one in 2023 up till now.”
The Minister also stated that due to the strengthening of the CFA currency in neighbouring countries relative to the naira, “Nigerian food products have become comparatively cheaper, consequently resulting in widespread unlawful transportation of goods through unguarded borders.”
“One CFA is N2.20kobo, this means 1000 CFA is N2,200, this is something that was , N400-N500 few years ago. Because of the devaluation of naira, our food is the cheapest around the neighborhood, so you find a lot of undocumented exports which is smuggling across our porous borders.
We are trying to ramp up production, what we are faced with unfortunately, is to see how we can secure food for our 230 million people and at the same time, if this economics continues , we have to either seal our border, or produce for all other Africans”, he said.