The looming food crisis in Nigeria


Alarmed by the skyrocketing prices of food stuff, coupled with the destruction of farms and crops by locusts and quelea birds in the north, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbe, the other day, expressed the fear that more Nigerians may go hungry except something is done to avert the looming crisis. His fear is founded and should be urgently addressed.

A drastic shortfall in food supply will certainly compound the biting harsh economic condition. Government should, therefore, do everything within its power to ensure that Nigeria is not hit with food shortage by boosting local production instead of resorting to the usual importation of food. Measures should also be taken immediately to combat the menace of destructive pests.


Ogbe spoke in Abuja during an emergency meeting with agriculture commissioners from the affected states. According to him, the pests had attacked farms in some local council areas in Kebbi, Zamfara, Sokoto, Jigawa, Abia, Kano, Borno, Yobe, Benue, Gombe, Adamawa and Katsina states.

He said with the current high cost of food and the reported attacks on farmlands by locusts and quelea birds, the scarcity of food may worsen in the country. Already, there is a maize crisis, and if the pests attack rice, maize, sorghum and millet farms, the country would be in terrible food crisis.

Ogbe also acknowledged that the people are already hungry and angry. Families with four or five children are complaining of not eating for days. The rate of poverty has tripled as evident in many people turning beggars and soliciting for financial support. And right now, urban poverty is worse than rural poverty.

Locusts and quelea birds are dangerous pests, which could, within hours or days, wipe out hectares of farmland and cause crop failure, low harvest and ultimately food scarcity. This scenario is worrisome given the current grim economic condition in the country.

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