The federal government has confirmed 80% increase in food importation to the country between 2019 to 2023.
Dr Kingsley Uzoma, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Agribusinesses and Productivity Enhancement (SSAP), made this disclosure at the National Policy Dialogue on Thursday in Abuja.
He also added that no fewer than 88.5 million Nigerians were faced with insufficient food consumption while the figure was projected to increase by six million in December.
The policy dialogue was themed “Deepening Partnership for Scaling-Up of Information and Communication Technology for Development (ICT4D) for Smallholder Farmers in Nigeria,” and was organized Federal Government, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the National Information and Technology Development Agency (NITDA).
According to Uzoma, the federal government is committed to reversing the trend.
He mentioned that the nation held the highest global rate of stunted children, with 70% of its population residing below the poverty line. Furthermore, in October, food inflation recorded a notable 31.52%.
The presidential aide also acknowledged that the decline in agricultural production was a major contributor as the country was being forced to rely heavily on food imports.
He therefore urged continuous initiatives in digital literacy and collaboration among agencies and the private sector. These efforts are crucial to fostering increased technology adoption among smallholder farmers.
Uzoma emphasized that such endeavours could lead to increased productivity, extensive technical advancement, the promotion of best practices, enhanced trade competitiveness, and improved market access.
In addition, IFAD Country Director, Dede Ekoue, said the dialogue was aimed at strengthening partnership for enhanced access of smallholder farmers to digital solutions.
According to her, implementing these solutions is expected to elevate their livelihoods while simultaneously making significant contributions to food security, nutrition, poverty reduction, economic growth, and job creation.