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Senate urges FG to take swift action to combat rising food insecurity

The Senate has called on the Federal Government to urgently implement measures to address the impending food insecurity crisis in the country.

Additionally, the Senate requested the government to outline the steps taken to mitigate this issue and address public concerns.

This resolution was adopted following a motion on the urgent need to tackle food insecurity and market exploitation of consumables in Nigeria, sponsored by Senators Sunday Karimi (APC-Kogi) and Ali Ndume (APC-Borno).

Senator Karimi highlighted that, in recent months, the prices of goods and household consumables have surged to unprecedented levels, contributing to high inflation, weakened purchasing power, and deteriorating living conditions for many Nigerians.

Data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) indicates that food inflation has soared to 40.66% year-on-year, a sharp rise from the 24.82% recorded in May 2023.

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Karimi noted that the prices of essential food items such as beans, maize, rice, yam, tomatoes, and onions have increased by 100% to 300% since the removal of the petroleum subsidy, despite no apparent justification for this surge.

He identified factors such as insecurity in food-producing regions, poor road conditions, increased transportation costs, and the depreciation of the naira as contributors to the rising prices.

However, he emphasized that the greed of merchants and traders seeking excessive profits is a significant factor.

Senator Karimi expressed concern over the tendency of traders to exploit consumers and the farming communities’ preference to sell produce abroad, exacerbating local food insecurity.

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He stressed the need for pragmatic solutions to address food insecurity, including resolving herder-farmer conflicts, kidnapping, and terrorism, and establishing a national commodity board to regulate grain prices.

Senator Ali Ndume (APC–Borno), seconding the motion, highlighted the growing threat of food insecurity and the impact of insecurity on farmers’ access to their land. He called for urgent legislative action to address the rising food prices.

Senator Ahmed Lawan (APC-Yobe) lamented that many Nigerians struggle to afford a single meal a day, noting the emptiness of government silos and the need for urgent food imports. He urged the National Assembly to work with the executive branch to prevent the looming food crisis.

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Senator Ahmed Wadada (SDP-Nasarawa) commended the federal government for relaxing import duties and taxes on food items and urged lawmakers to support food production efforts at their levels.

Senate President Godswill Akpabio emphasized the impact of bandit activities on farmers’ access to farmlands and the longstanding issue of farm abandonment due to insecurity.

He urged the government to support farming activities and announced that the federal government had provided 60 trucks of fertilizer to each state to boost agricultural production.

Akpabio called for continued efforts to enhance farming activities and praised the government’s move to exempt imported food items from taxes and duties.

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