Nigeria’s Food Sector in Focus: Strengthening Collaboration to Tackle Challenges

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By Ify Onyekwere

Nigeria, with its vast agricultural potential and burgeoning population, stands at the crossroads of food security and economic prosperity. However, the journey towards achieving these goals is fraught with challenges, ranging from multiple taxation to the dominance of cartels in the food supply chain. According to recent data from agricultural surveys, these issues have contributed to fluctuating food prices, posing significant burdens on consumers and farmers alike.

Against this backdrop, a landmark meeting convened on the 12th of March 2024 at the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) headquarters heralded a new chapter in the quest to revitalize Nigeria’s food sector. Representatives from the National Committee for Family Farming (NCFF) and IFDC/HORTI Nigeria gathered to explore collaborative strategies aimed at addressing systemic issues and fostering sustainable growth.

The meeting, presided over by Dr Adamu A. Abdullahi, the Ag Executive Vice Chairman of the FCCPC, commenced with a patriotic fervour as the National Anthem echoed through the halls. Mr. Raymond Nyayiti Enoch, the National Coordinator of NCFF, set the stage by outlining the objectives, emphasizing the urgent need for knowledge sharing and strategic partnerships to navigate the complex landscape of food production and distribution.

Drawing from the findings of a comprehensive survey conducted by IFDC/HORTI Nigeria, Mr Abdullahi Umar shed light on the grim realities facing farmers across the nation. The survey highlighted the pervasive impact of multiple taxation and cartel influence on farmers’ livelihoods and consumer prices. Mr Umar underscored the imperative of collaborative interventions to streamline taxation policies and dismantle entrenched cartels, thus ensuring a fair and equitable food market for all stakeholders.

Dr. Abdullahi, in his address, lauded the efforts of both NCFF and IFDC/HORTI Nigeria in advancing the agenda of agricultural reform. He reaffirmed the FCCPC’s unwavering commitment to facilitating partnerships and leveraging its mandate to protect consumer interests and promote fair competition in the marketplace.

As discussions delved deeper, Mrs Adeyinka, the Director of Surveillance and Intelligence at FCCPC, steered the conversation towards actionable strategies. Advocacy, policy reform, stakeholder engagement, and robust surveillance emerged as pillars of the proposed collaboration. Mrs Adeyinka emphasized the urgent need to address the scourge of hoarding, middlemen exploitation, and market distortions through targeted interventions and regulatory oversight.

In a show of unity and resolve, stakeholders agreed on a roadmap for collaboration, with deadlines set to formalize the partnership through a memorandum of understanding (MOU). Plans were put in motion to convene follow-up meetings to review progress and refine strategies, with a keen focus on delivering tangible outcomes for farmers and consumers alike.

As the meeting drew to a close, Mrs. Adeyinka extended heartfelt thanks on behalf of the Commission, expressing optimism for the journey ahead. With a shared vision and collaborative spirit, the FCCPC, NCFF, and IFDC/HORTI Nigeria are poised to chart a new course for Nigeria’s food sector, one defined by resilience, inclusivity, and sustainable growth.

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