The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, has warned that insecurity, climate change and the effects of COVID-19 may worsen the growing food crisis in the country.
Emefiele said Nigerians were struggling with the production, processing and distribution of food due to the disruptions in agricultural value chain.
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Speaking on Wednesday in Uyo during the 2021 CBN Executive Seminar with the theme, “Food Security in Nigeria: Options for Policy,” the CBN governor quoted the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation saying that at least 9.2 million people in Nigeria faced food crisis between March and May 2021.
Emefiele stated that the United Nations projected population of 398 million people for Nigeria by 2050 was a challenge to the country to implement strategies that would achieve food security and safety.
He said, “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.”
Emefiele, who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Economic Policy, Dr Kingsley Obiora, stated that the Central Bank was committed to food security in the country as the stability in food prices would translate almost directly to stability in the general price level of other commodities.
He said the theme of the seminar was apt as insecurity, climate change and COVID-19 health problems were challenging food production and supply in Nigeria as well as globally.
Citing the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) records that food and non-alcoholic beverages has a weight of 51.80 per cent in Nigeria’s inflation basket, the CBN governor said there was the need for food prices to stabilize.
He explained that the apex bank was committed to food security in the country as the stability in food prices would translate almost directly to stability in the general price level of other commodities.
He revealed that the CBN had engaged in several developmental initiatives designed at increasing food production, creating job opportunities and diversifying the economy.
He mentioned the initiatives to include the release of N987.825 billion under its N 1.0 trillion Real Sector Facility to 262 real sector projects on agriculture, manufacturing, mining and services sectors, and the disbursement of over N802.920 billion to 3,038,899 farmers cultivating more than 4.7 million hectares of land across the 36 states and FCT under the Anchors Borrowers Programme (ABP).
Also speaking, Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom, who declared the seminar open through his deputy, Mr. Moses Ekpo, said one of the defining elements of the social contract, apart from physical security and shelter is food security.