THE planned hike in levy on imported rice by the Federal Government has triggered fear of imminent food crisis in the country, especially those from the flood-ravaged states.
Besides, there is a worldwide apprehension over imminent food crisis in 2013, due largely to severe weather condition in the United States and other food-exporting countries.
Grains such as rice, millets, corn, remained a staple food in Nigeria and stakeholders had expressed fears that with the recent 100 per cent increase in duty on imported rice, an average and low-income earner might not be able to purchase the farm produce.
The 2013 budget proposes a 100 per cent levy on imported polished rice. Several voices of concern are emerging from all sectors, urging the Federal Government to reconsider its levy regime on imported rice to avert food crisis in the country.
The Minister of Environment, Hajiya Hadiza Mailafia, who spoke to State House Correspondents, after a meeting of the Federal Executive Council recently, revealed that several thousands of farmlands had been destroyed by the ravaging floods across the country.
She said: “The consequences of the floods are that there are huge losses of farmlands, there are likely threats to food security, we are likely going to have challenges that have to do with the health of the people in some areas”.
Also, the Federal Director of Agriculture in Adamawa, Wali Hamman, said there was a real possibility of food crisis in Adamawa State next year.
Considering the huge damage on the farmlands, he said there was likelihood of food crisis in the state, if immediate action was not taken to address the situation.
He said: “Most of the farmers affected by the disaster are more preoccupied with how to save themselves and their families from the disaster than of their farms”.
Kano State has equally been badly affected by the floods, which resulted in the disruption of rice production in the state.
A statement from the association of rice growers in the state, disclosed that about 95 per cent of all rice farms in Kano State have been destroyed by flood.
Also, Plateau state government said that the flood that affected eight local government areas in the state, had washed away eight bridges and rendered more than 10,000 people homeless.
The state’s Commissioner for Information and Communication, Abraham Yiljap, told newsmen after the weekly executive council meeting few days ago, that more than 100 villages and 4,000 hectares of farmlands were destroyed.
“Unfortunately and tragically, Plateau has been affected by another flood disaster after the one in Jos North. Several crops had also been washed away by the disaster. This situation would lead to likely shortage of food supply in the state, as the areas ravaged were mainly agricultural areas.”
The state’s Commissioner for Environment, Mrs. Sarah Yusuf, said the floods had caused the death of scores of people in Jos.
Yusuf said that the warning by her ministry was to prevent more deaths as a result of the impending flood.
Meanwhile the Bayelsa State government has temporarily closed all schools in the state, as a result of rising water level all over the State.
Reports from the North Central zone indicated that in Kogi State alone, more than 600,000 people have been displaced.
According to him, education, agriculture, health and roads are some of the sectors already identified to have been affected badly. He expressed regrets that communities ravaged by the flood were the food basket of the state.
The situation, he said, constituted a threat to food security and health of the people.
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