The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dr Tajudeen Abbas, says the burden of food insecurity in the world is heaviest on Africa.
Dr Abbas made the remark while delivering a speech at the third plenary session of the ongoing 18th Commonwealth Speakers’ and Presiding Officers’ Conference (CSCOP) in Yaoundé, Cameroon, on Thursday.
He, however, 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.’
“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,” Abbas said while addressing other heads of parliaments.
According to the Speaker, 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.
“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 observed that, on the other hand, the recurring conflicts between herders and farmers in Nigeria is “fallout from the impact of climate change which brought in its wake, drought and extreme weather conditions in the Northern part of the country, necessitating the need for herders to move their flock to other parts of the country for grazing.
He added that the movement of the herds often destroys farmlands and crops, which triggers retaliatory action from farmers that in turn, slaughter the livestock of the herders.
The Speaker buttress his point with the fact that extreme weather conditions occasioned by climate change and global warming pose severe threats to agricultural production and increases food insecurity within the continent.
Through legislation, the Speaker said, parliaments can remove the bottlenecks mitigating investment in agribusiness in the African continent, making the operating environment more conducive to attract investors into the sector and ensure that their investments are protected.