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Abuja Chamber expresses concern over rising food prices

The Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), has expressed deep concern over the persistent rise in commodity prices.

The ACCI President, Emeka Obegolu, in a statement, said the daily price increments were adversely affecting small-scale business owners and escalating poverty levels.

“The surge in prices of essential food items such as rice, beans, cassava flour, tomatoes, pepper, onions, and others has aggravated the plight of the average citizen.

“It is rendering basic meals increasingly unaffordable for many households,” he said.

According to Obegolu, official National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) records indicated a staggering 35.41 per cent food inflation rate in May 2023.

He said that on-ground observations suggest that the actual food inflation rate exceeded 50 per cent, highlighting the severity of the situation and its dire impact on livelihoods.

Obegolu said the chamber provided support services in training and advocacy to help local businesses navigate challenges and seize opportunities in the food sector to impact its members.

He said that the distressing situation made necessities such as food, housing, and healthcare increasingly unattainable, pushing numerous households to the brink of poverty and extreme deprivation.

Obegolu, the Organised Private Sector leader in the FCT and environs, emphasised the urgent need for government intervention to address the escalating food crisis.

He said that failure to act promptly could lead to malnutrition and further aggravate the nation’s socio-economic challenges.

“Food is a fundamental necessity of life, and its affordability directly impacts the well-being of citizens.

“The escalating food inflation crisis threatens food security and exacerbates poverty.

“The government must take decisive action to mitigate this crisis and alleviate the populace’s suffering,” he said.

The ACCI President said the economic situation also adversely affected the business community, particularly farmers and agricultural product sellers.

He, therefore, called for urgent measures to stabilise food prices, enhance food security, and alleviate Nigerians’ economic burden.

The ACCI president said this would foster sustainable socio-economic development within the country.

Obegolu quoted the Chief Executive Officer of Araba Technology, Amb. Segun Olugbile, as urging the ACCI to initiate business actions against the food crisis and hunger in the FCT.

According to Olugbike, the food crisis is becoming a severe issue due to multifaceted challenges affecting farmers and herders, climate change and the current high inflation.

He said the ACCI was at a critical juncture as the FCT was facing an escalating food crisis and hunger emergency, due to challenges impacting food production and supply chains.

“With an estimated 24.7 million individuals affected by food and nutrition insecurity across 26 states, including the FCT, urgent action is imperative.

“The ACCI can play a pivotal role through collaboration with government and stakeholders to avert a worsening crisis and bolster regional food security.”

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