POLITICAL ECONOMY OF FOOD SECURITY IN NIGERIA: 1999 – 2010

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ABSTRACT

A new vista was opened in the annals of Nigerian history with the enthronement of the new
democratic dispensation in 1999. This event heightened the expectations of millions of
Nigerians, who heaved a sigh of relief after long years of bad governance under various
military regimes. For them, the new democratic era would usher in governance that was both
responsive and responsible to their needs which had hardly been on the agenda of the military
dictatorships. However, the reality on ground, after more than 10 years of civilian rule (1999
– 2010), appears to negate these expectations such that till date the problem of ensuring food
security still remains perennial and debilitating in a country with immeasurable agricultural
production potentials. Apparently, the dreams of Nigerians under the new democratic era
have continued to be dashed on the alter of malnutrition, poverty, hunger and bad governance
despite the avowed commitments of government especially in the area of instituting several
policies and programmes which had been packaged to salvage to this ugly trend. Recent
studies have revealed that the attainment of food security, in all its ramifications, is still a
major developmental issue in Nigeria. Millions of Nigerians still face the debilitating effect
of hunger and malnutrition on a daily basis, despite more than 5 decades of state led
intervention in the agricultural sector. Astronomical rise in food import bills, low agricultural
exports, malnutrition and the inability of several governments to utilize the enormous
agricultural endowments available in the country to generate socio economic development,
call to question government’s sincerity in tackling food security problems facing Nigeria.
However, the present study critically examined the performance of the National Special
Programme for Food Security (NSPFS) in the area of enhancing national food security in
Nigeria and hence interrogated the effects of meager budgetary allocations in the agricultural
sector especially as regards the poor and inefficient funding of the NSPFS both on the overall
performance of Nigeria’s agricultural sector and the ability of the NSPFS to achieve its broad
objectives. Hence, secondary sources of data collection such as textbooks, journals,
newspapers, magazines, official documents and internet materials were therefore imperative.
The theoretical framework of analysis used was the Marxist Instrumentalist Theory. The
qualitative-descriptive method of analysis was used in addition to the ex post facto research
design, which helped to ensure the validity and reliability of the entire study. The findings of
the study revealed amongst others, that (1) the food security crises in Nigeria is as a result of
policy biases of government officials and (2) poor budgetary allocations for the agricultural
sector as well as the poor and inefficient funding of the NSPFS hinder the ability of the
programme to achieve its objectives. Hence the study concluded that unless those saddled
with the responsibility of governance become alive to their duties, especially in the area of
enhancing food security, the future would indeed be bleak for both the ruled and the rulers.
Based on findings and conclusion of the study, the study generally recommended that “the
right to food” be made a constitutional law.

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