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Africa Bears Heaviest Burden of Global Food Insecurity, Says Nigeria’s House Speaker Abbas 

“These observations have been made by various speakers in this session, and there are several causes for this challenge,” he said.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Abbas Tajudeen, has said that the burden of food insecurity in the world was heaviest on Africans.

In a statement signed by the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the Speaker, Mr. Musa Abdullahi Krishi, on Thursday, Abbas, while delivering an address at the third plenary session of the ongoing 18th Commonwealth Speakers’ and Presiding Officers’ Conference (CSCOP) in Yaoundé, Cameroon, noted that the parliaments on the continent could address some of the issues causing food crisis.

The Speaker’s address was titled: “Addressing Challenges of Food Security in Africa by Promoting Investment in Agriculture.”

The statement read: “While food insecurity is a global crisis, Africa sadly bears the heaviest burden of the global lack of access to food and nutrition. The 2022 Global Report on Food Crises noted that one out of every five African goes to bed hungry daily while an estimated 140 million out of Africa’s one billion populations face acute food insecurity.

“These observations have been made by various speakers in this session, and there are several causes for this challenge.

“Some of the factors causing food crisis in Africa are armed conflicts of different kinds and magnitude; climate change; impact of the COVID-19 pandemic; rising population; subsistence farming and crude agricultural practices; lack of access to credit, poor infrastructure, and lack of investment in agri-business, among others.

“Suffice it to say that these factors reinforce themselves. For example, armed conflicts disrupt agricultural activities by destroying crops, livestock and preventing farmers from access to the farms.”

Speaking further, the Speaker said: “The Nigerian case demonstrates this much. The activities of Boko Haram terrorists in the north eastern part of the country greatly contributed to Nigeria’s rising food insecurity as farmers could not have access to their farms following the sacking of several villages in the wake of the attacks which lasted for several years.

“The terrorist attacks equally impacted negatively on the activities of commercial fishermen within the Lake Chad region.”

The Speaker also noted that on the other hand, the recurring conflicts between herders and farmers in Nigeria was a, “fallout from the impact of climate change which brought in its wake, drought and extreme weather conditions in the Northern part of the country, which necessitated the need for herders to move their flock to other parts of the country for grazing.”

According to him, the movement of herds, “often destroys farmlands and crops, which triggers retaliatory action from farmers who in turn, slaughter the livestock of the herders,” stressing that, “These two actions further worsen the food crisis as both livestock and crops are destroyed.”

The Speaker buttressed his point with the fact that extreme weather conditions occasioned by climate change and global warming posed severe threats to agricultural production and increases food insecurity within the continent.
“Our food insecurity is equally exacerbated with the poor infrastructure within the continent which ensures that farmers are unable to preserve produce, transform them as well as move their produce to urban centres for better pricing.

“Related to the foregoing is the lack of investment in agribusiness, which is as a result of a number of factors including poor infrastructure, ill-conceived policies, lack of access to land, high cost of doing business and many others.

“Farm implements and other incentives are not within the reach of most farmers in our continent who largely operate at a subsistent level,” he added

“We must enact legislation that provides access to land, credit, and other incentives that make investing in agribusiness attractive and rewarding. We can equally reduce food losses with the necessary legislative framework that promotes climate-proof agricultural production. Greenhouse farming can help the continent overcome adverse weather conditions induced by climate change and increase food production and supply,” he said.

Juliet Akoje

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