• expresses concern over security challenges, COVID-19 pandemic
Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, on Wednesday raised alarm over food crisis being experienced in the country and warned that this could worsen if urgent and sustainable steps are not taken to address the situation.
The CBN governor who raised that alarm while presenting a keynote address at the 2021 CBN Executive Seminar in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, stated that severe disruptions to the agricultural value chain due to security challenges in the country and the COVID-19 health crisis are the factors that have led to this worrisome situation.
According to the governor, who was represented by CBN’s Deputy Governor, Economic Policy, Dr Kingsley Obiora, recalled that the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) had reported that at least 9.2 million people in Nigeria faced food crisis between March and May 2021.
The CBN governor said the fact that the United Nations projected Nigeria’s population to be 398 million by 2050 challenged Nigeria’s common will to implement strategies targeted at achieving food security.
He said the theme of the seminar, “Food Security in Nigeria: Options for Policy,” was apt now that security issues, climate change, and COVID-19 related disruptions were challenging food production and supply, not only in Nigeria but also in the global economy.
“I note with concern the severe disruptions to the agricultural value chain caused by the security challenges in the country and the COVID-19 health crisis, as households continue to grapple with the production, processing, and distribution of food with undesirable effects on livelihoods.”
“To amplify this concern, the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation has reported that at least 9.2 million people in Nigeria faced a food crisis between March and May 2021.Due to insecurity and the effects of COVID-19 health crisis, as well as climate change, the figure could increase further if no urgent and resilient actions were implemented.”
“Ladies and gentlemen, a glimpse into the future would reveal an imminent food crisis, he said.
“The United Nations has projected Nigeria’s population to be around 398 million people by 2050, far exceeding that of the United States of America. This number challenges our common will to implement strategies targeted at achieving food security and safety, as failure to do so could subject the population to the risks of hunger and diseases.”
He tasked the participants to painstakingly discuss the issues around the theme of the seminar with a view to articulating innovative and workable solutions that would lead to improved productivity and increased food supply for the nation.
Emefiele said the CBN on his watch had engaged in several development initiatives aimed at increasing food production, creating job opportunities, and diversifying the economy, including the release of N987.825 billion under its N 1 trillion Real Sector Facility to 262 real sector projects on agriculture, manufacturing, mining and services sectors.
He said, “The CBN has disbursed over N802.920 billion to 3,038,899 (three million, thirty-eight thousand, eight hundred and ninety-nine) farmers cultivating more than 4.7 million hectares of land across the 36 states and FCT under the Anchors Borrowers Programme (ABP).