The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development yesterday stated that the members of the food crisis prevention network have decided to embark on the first evaluation of the charter for provision of food in 2014/2015.
This was disclosed in Abuja by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Sonny Echono, at the two-day Consultation, Dialogue and Validation Workshop on Food Crisis Prevention and Management Charter (PREGEC).
According to the Permanent Secretary, “our country became net importer of food and major importer of wheat, rice, sugar and fish, which consumes over N1 trillion in foreign exchange yearly since 2005.”
Echono, who was represented by the Director, Department of Agriculture, Dr. Damilola Emmanuel also said;
“the report of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) showed that Nigeria is the world’s largest importer of United States’ hard red and white winter wheat with annual food import of N635 billion. “It is also the second largest importer of rice (N700 billion in 2014), sugar (N217 billion) and fish (N97 billion).”
He, however, said “Nigeria’s food imports are growing at an unsustainable rate of 11 per cent per annum while relying on import of expensive food on global markets fuels domestic inflation, as the country is importing what it can produce in abundance. “Import dependency is hurting Nigerian farmers, displacing local production and creating rising unemployment.”
Also at the occasion, stakeholders made their inputs, which include the need to conceive food crises within the concept of human right in order to have permanent solutions to the recurrent perennial food crises; the need to focus on the policy factor much more than the technology factor; ensuring policy best practices and the need to give voice and vote to the rural poor small holders to contribute to policy articulation.