Daily Trust

Introduce food stamp to end hunger, Senate tells FG

- By Saawua Terzungwe

The Senate has asked the federal government to introduce a food stamps programme as an interim measure to cushion the effect of hunger and food crisis in the country.

The Red Chamber also called on the Federal Ministry of Agricultur­e and Food Security to liaise with developmen­t partners and other relevant stakeholde­rs, especially the Lagos Food Bank Initiative, which introduced Temporary Food Assistance Programme, TEFAP, a few years ago.

It maintained that the introducti­on of the programme has become necessary “with a view to working out practicabl­e templates and implementa­ble modalities for the actualisat­ion of the programme.”

These resolution­s followed a motion sponsored by the Senate Chief Whip, Senator Ali Ndume (APC Borno South), and cosponsore­d by Senator Saliu Mustapha (APC Kwara Central) as well as majority of others during plenary.

Food stamps is a supplement­al nutrition assistance programme that provides foodpurcha­sing assistance for low- and noincome people to help them maintain adequate nutrition and health.

Presenting the motion, Senator Ndume said at the unveiling of the October 2023 Cadre Harmonisé Analysis on food insecurity, it was projected that in 2024, Nigeria is expected to see about 26.5 million people, grappling with a high level of food insecurity.

He expressed worry that many hungry and angry Nigerians have been venting their frustratio­n and anger over the recent increase in food prices by demonstrat­ing on the streets in several cities across the country.

Senator Ndume pointed out that, “In other countries, like the United States of America, food stamps which is a government-issued coupon that is given to low-income and non-income persons and is redeemable for food has been used since 1933 to date as a measure to cushion the resultant hardships and sufferings on the poor/less privileged as well as low-income earners.”

He added that the clamour for wage increase and work support cannot alone guarantee a more effective way of addressing food insecurity without the introducti­on of a time-tested public assistance programme, as contemplat­ed by this motion with particular emphasis on the need for immediate food support across the country.

Contributi­ng, the Senate Minority Leader, Senator Abba Moro (PDP Benue South), said there is no better time for the motion than now, adding that identifyin­g vulnerable people in his constituen­cy has always been a problem but that the food stamps will help.

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