The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has called on President Muhammadu Buhari-led All Progressives Congress (APC) government to take urgent steps to address food insecurity in the country.
The PDP, in a statement on Sunday by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, claimed that under the present administration, over 82.9 million Nigerians can no longer afford their daily meals due to the rising cost of food items.
The opposition party said it is as a result of the failure of the APC government to take practical steps to grow and protect the food sector.
Ologbodiyan said this has led to severe food scarcity with prices soaring beyond the reach of the people, adding that Nigeria is ranked 98 out of 107 in Global Hunger Index.
According to the PDP, this comes with food shortage, collapsed purchasing power, 33.3 per cent unemployment, 22.95 food inflation rates, as well as increased morbidity and mortality rates.
“Today, under the APC, a bag of rice which sold for N8,000 under the PDP now sells for N30,000; a measure of garri and beans which sold for N150 and N250 now sell for N500 and N800 respectively; a measure of maize and guinea corn which sold for about N150 now sells for N400; while a kilo of meat which sold for about N800 now sells for about N2,300.
“Our party notes that the current food crisis is occasioned by the failure of the APC administration to recalibrate our agricultural sector, as well as to take decisive steps to address the violence, terrorism, and banditry in food production areas”, the statement said.
“Nigerians recall how the APC administration had remained insensitive to calls by our party and well-meaning Nigerians asking it to address the escalated violent attacks and killing of farmers as well as livestock producers by bandits, terrorists, and criminal herders resulting in the desertion of farms in various parts of our country”.
The party decried that farmers now overflow in Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps, while their fields and farmhouses have been overrun by bandits and terrorists.
It blamed the escalated insecurity on the nation’s highways for the hampered production and distribution value chain, stressing that there is no hope in sight.
The PDP, therefore, asked Buhari to take urgent steps to address the urgent issue of hunger by opening the silos to cushion the situation and push down prices.
It also asked the government to realign the agricultural sector by beefing up security in food production areas to ensure farmers return to the farmland.
“The PDP also believes that the time has come for President Buhari to provide direct stimuli to small businesses as an incentive to pay salaries, revamp production and boost purchasing power,” the party added.