The Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Benjamin Okezie Kalu has provided insights on how Nigeria can address its food crisis and convert the agricultural sector into a catalyst for economic development, ensuring food security and maintaining environmental sustainability.
During his speech at the Implementation of Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CADAP), a significant meeting discussing climate change, food systems, and resource mobilization held in Abuja on Monday, Kalu emphasized that the attainment of food security could be accomplished by the establishment of sturdy food systems, efficient resource mobilization, and the successful implementation of climate change mitigation strategies.
The Deputy Speaker observed that Nigeria stands at a critical juncture with regard to its food security and agricultural capabilities, acknowledging the existence of obstacles but expressing optimism that, through collaborative efforts, these challenges can be overcome.
He said: “Our farmers, the backbone of our nation’s food production, face immense challenges. From limited access to modern tools and financing to crumbling infrastructure, their potential often remains untapped. Yet, initiatives like CAADP offer a beacon of hope. By empowering these heroes with the knowledge, resources, and market connections they deserve, we can build a food system that thrives, come rain or shine. But resources alone won’t cut it. We need a collective effort, a hand-in-hand between government, businesses, and communities. Let us create an environment that welcomes private investment, one that prioritizes responsible practices and ensures every Naira counts.
“We must explore innovative financing, tapping into new ideas like blended finance and crowdfunding to unlock the potential that lies dormant. Climate change casts a long shadow over our fields. It’s time to embrace smart solutions, like drought-resistant crops and water-saving techniques. Sustainable land management isn’t just a buzzword; it’s the key to ensuring our food security remains unshakeable, even in the face of a changing climate.
And let’s not forget the harvest itself. Food storage facilities lie in disrepair, and processing infrastructure is woefully inadequate. By investing in these crucial areas, we can not only reduce the heartbreaking waste that plagues our nation but also create jobs and inject much-needed growth into our economy.
This High-Level Strategic Engagement is a critical step towards translating these aspirations into action.
“Let us share our expertise, collaborate on solutions, and collectively work towards achieving the following goals: Increase food production by at least 25% within the next five years. 2. Create 10 million new jobs in the agricultural sector by 2030. Reduce post-harvest losses by 50%. Achieve net-zero emissions in the agricultural sector by 2050. Let us seize this opportunity, turn challenges into opportunities, and work together to build a brighter future for all Nigerians.”
With consideration to the principle that states a hungry individual tends to become irritable, Kalu stated that PISE-P has recently initiated a program named “Food for Peace”. This initiative involved the distribution of food items to provide assistance to individuals within the communities.
He stated that the long-term objective is to ensure food self-sufficiency in the region by focusing on the agricultural aspect of the initiative.