By Augustine Agwulonu, Owerri
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Imo State Chapter, has lamented the shortage of food and high increase in prices. The party said that these shortages and high increase in prices would make life miserable for the citizens.The IMO PDP made this declaration through its State Chairman, Engr. Charles Ugwu shortly after a meeting of the State Working Committee last week. The Imo State Chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party decried what it termed; acute shortage of food and astronomical rise in the prices of basic food items in the State as Imolites grapple with impending starvation.
“The current situation where families labour in vain to put food on their table is not acceptable and must not be allowed to persist” he said.
Engr. Ugwuh, warns that such crushing level of food insecurity may likely translate into chaos and unrest if urgent and decisive intervention is not taken by the State Government.
The PDP boss, noted further that Imo State is helplessly dependent for over 80% of its food needs from out of State sources and observed that the food supply chain is constantly under threat due to instability and insecurity in the supply sources.
The party recalled that in recent times, farmers, have been killed on their farms and an entire village of farmers wiped out. “This threat to lives of farming communities in our supply areas creates huge deficits and directly threatens our fragile food supply chain”.
Engr. Ugwuh therefore, submitted that the State government must articulate a short term strategy to ameliorate the present level of hunger and a long term plan for boosting food production to prevent a looming food shortage disaster.
He revealed the PDP administration of Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha had envisaged the present predicament and developed pre-emptive policies to mitigate the trend.
“In livestock farming, Ihedioha set up programs for poultry, piggery and fishery. There was also a program for grains and raw materials for poultry and other livestock feeds, particularly maize”. According to him, the party wishes to draw the attention of the State Government to the ravaging food shortages and wide spread hunger and urge the government to consider emergency measures to tackle this impending catastrophe.
Imo PDP suggests that the government should without further delay establish food reserves of essential commodities including vital staples of yams, grains, garri, rice, and other food items.
The party said “It is important to emphasize that our concern in this matter goes beyond partisan considerations because hunger is not a respecter of Party affiliations.” The party disclosed that the grinding food shortages could lead to malnutrition and other diseases and ultimately to loss of lives of people.
The party noted that all these were happening at a time when the health system is nearing total collapse. There are no functional hospitals and health centres to support the ordinary people.
The Government must as a matter of urgency revive and equip at least two (2) hospitals to bridge the huge gap. The party advised that in the next farming season any government in power in the State must go beyond rhetorics and theatrics to promote, support and encourage agriculture beyond the introduction of what he called “untested rabbit rearing”.