The UK has predicted that concerns with farm inputs, particularly fertiliser and water, will be persistent, and that Nigeria and other African countries may face high food prices and food insecurity for a very long period.
The COVID-19 epidemic, the Russia-Ukraine war, the rising price of fertilisers, as well as the effects of climate change on food production, were all cited as contributing factors to the food crisis scenario in Africa.
In a keynote speech at the Feed Nigeria Summit, UK Ambassador to Nigeria, Catriona Laing, mentioned a number of factors that could affect long-term food security, including energy prices, restrictions on the export of fertilizers, the COVID-19 pandemic and its disruption of supply chains, the ongoing war in Russia and Ukraine, and the covid-19 pandemic.
The UK envoy emphasized the need to step up efforts to transition Africa from being dependent on the rest of the world for food to self-sufficiency, noting that Africa has been the region most severely affected by the global food crisis.
The Director of the UK Department of International Trade’s Africa Agric, David Burton, who was the high commissioner’s representative, added that between 10% and 25% of the country’s currently farmed land will become unusable due to climate change, which has a negative impact on Nigeria’s ability to fully maximize its agricultural sector.
He stated: “That is why the UK is investing £95 million through a new Propcom+ programme to support climate-resilient and sustainable agriculture in Nigeria. Propcom+ will support more than four million people to adopt and scale sustainable agricultural practices – such as improved climate-resilient seed varieties and integrated soil fertility management – that increase productivity and resilience, reduce emissions, and protect natural ecosystems.”
The UK ambassador emphasized the need for funding, investments, and official development support to boost food production and combat food insecurity in order to address the nation’s present food crisis situation.
She claimed that by strengthening the sector’s digital economy, which, if properly implemented, could reduce both costs and risks to support trade growth by enabling trade and related activities to become more efficient, less risky, and less expensive, it would be possible to lessen the bureaucracy and extensive policies that limit opportunities and discourage investors and partners.
Richard Mbaram, Director-General of the Feed Nigeria Summit Secretariat, stated in his remarks that the program was created to inspire players in the agricultural sector to map out the future of the sector.