The Minister of Agriculture, Dr Akinwunmi Adesina, said on Thursday in Abuja that the country was producing enough food and therefore not under any threat of hunger.
Adesina said this on the sideline of a breakfast meeting with the Central Bank Governor and some Chief Executive Officers of Commercial Banks.
The minister made the clarification while fielding reporters’ questions over a media alleged reports which alluded that the country could experience a food crisis.
He described such insinuations as ”speculative”.
The report claimed that there were strong indications of looming food crisis in the country as fresh indices showed that more than 65 per cent of 160 million Nigerian population were food insecure.
According to the report, the indices also revealed that more than 1.4 million children in northern Nigeria were at risk of severe malnutrition in 2013, while the country was losing estimated N1 billion on contraband rice on daily basis.
The report attributed the situation to the activities of the Boko Haram insurgency, the military crackdown and the state of emergency in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states.
“The information that there would be hunger in Nigeria is mischievous and it is not correct.
“We are producing enough food today in this country; we have reduced our food import bill by N857 billion which shows you that agriculture is working,’’ Adesina said.
He said that the country produced 1.1 million metric tonnes of rice alone in the last dry season and more would be produced this year.
Adesina said that inflation had also gone down to its lowest since 2008 and that the biggest component of inflation was food prices.
He said that the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations gave Nigeria an award for reducing the number of hungry people from 19.3 million people in 1990 to 13 million people this year.
Speaking on women in agriculture, the minister said the ministry was organizing women into groups to enable them secure loans from the banks.
He said women formed 80 per cent of the farming population and stressed the need to ensure that women had access to funds.
Adesina said the Growth Enhancement Support scheme (GES) had made it possible for women in the country to access fertilizer directly from government.
The breakfast meeting was organized to commend banks for lending to the agriculture sector.
The meeting also discussed