Cry of hunger in Nigeria laughable — Minister

Federal Ministry of Agriculture
Federal Ministry of Agriculture

Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sabo Nanono, on Monday, said Nigeria produces enough food to feed itself and send to neighbouring countries.

According to a report by Punch Newspaper, he described the cry by some Nigerians of hunger in the land as laughable, insisting that there was no hunger in Nigeria.

Speaking at a press briefing to mark the 2019 World Food Day in Abuja, he said, “I think we are producing enough to feed ourselves. I think there is no hunger in Nigeria; there could be inconveniences. When people talk about hunger in this government, I just laugh.”

World Food Day is celebrated every year around the world on October 16 in honour of the date of the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in 1945.

The day is celebrated widely by many other organisations concerned with food security, including the World Food Programme and the International Fund for Agricultural Development.

‘Food very cheap’

According to him, food is very cheap in Nigeria compared to other countries. “In this country, it is fairly cheap to buy food,” he said.

He said the Federal Government decided to shut the borders owing to the excesses of neighbouring countries that had made the country a dumping ground for expired rice and other goods.

“That’s the basis for the closure of the border and I think Nigeria tried to make these neighbouring countries understand our predicament but to no avail. So long as these countries bordering us will not respect Nigerian stand on food importation, the borders will remain closed,” he said

Meanwhile, the country representative, Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), Suffyan Koroma, harped on the need for government to adopt policies that would prioritise the availability and affordability of safe food.

He disclosed that the private sector could positively influence the food environment by adapting its products to modern nutritional recommendations.

“Farmers need better incentives to increase and diversify the production of high-quality food,” he said.

“Eradicating hunger is FAO’s top priority, but we also need to address all forms of malnutrition and pay close attention to the rising prevalence of overweight is currently at 19.9 per cent, which is higher than the globally accepted numbers,” Mr Koroma said.

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