FG to collaborate with states on food security

By Precious Oluwole

The Federal Government has expressed excitement over the endorsement by State Governors of the food security programmes rolled out through the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security.

The Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Senator Abubakar Kyari, while receiving the Governor of Kwara, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq; Governor of Ondo State, Lucky Orimisan Aiyedatiwa, Governor of Taraba State, Dr Agbu Kefas; and Governor of Kogi State, Ahmed Usman Ododo, at the Ministry’s headquarters in Abuja on a visit, said it was a strong political will and synergy in the agricultural sector.

The Governors stormed the Abuja headquarters of the Ministry to push for increased crop production to ensure food security in Nigeria. This is aimed at tackling food inflation and food shortage.

Kyari said: “This visit is without a doubt a huge endorsement for the progressive drive towards the much-needed collaboration between the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security and State Governments, with a view to creating an Agricultural Sector fit for a nation as endowed as Nigeria with massive arable fertile land, abundant water resources and agricultural labour force.

“Your Excellencies, we are aware that in your respective states, agriculture has witnessed noticeable development over the years. The bigger picture we seek to create now is to vastly increase agricultural production all-year round with the cardinal objective of driving down food inflation, creating employment, reducing poverty, engendering economic growth and development, as well promoting inclusivity. We are confident that we can partner in the realization of these objectives.

“There is no question that if we get things right now, and without an iota of doubt with all hands on the plough, future programmes and projects will enable us more seamlessly achieve all-year-round agricultural production with beneficial consequences for Economic Empowerment, Inclusivity and ultimately wider opportunities for Value Addition, Food and Nutrition Security as well as Industrialization.

“It implied Your Excellencies, that the more involved the sub-national governments are the more sustainable agricultural production becomes and the higher the chances of realizing the interconnected 8-Point Agenda of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR.”

Meanwhile, speaking on behalf of the four Governors, Chairman of the Governors’ Forum and the Kwara State Governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, said it is high time the Tinubu-led administration returned all agricultural programmes under the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, back to the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security for meaningful impact.

According to Abdulrazaq, the Anchor Borrowers Programme was a failure and never met the aims and objectives setting it up, hence a lot of indebtedness recorded. He also boasted that Nigeria can feed itself and the entire West Africa, pointing out that the cheap food in West Africa is in Nigeria, hence most West African countries are coming to buy food from Nigeria.

He also asserted that with the population and huge arable land God has blessed Nigeria with she can comfortably feed herself and also export as India, China and other big countries are doing.

He, however, called on State Governments to massively invest in data in order to weed out middlemen and their excesses in order for real farmers to have access to agricultural inputs for massive food production.

Meanwhile, he acknowledged and commended the Minister and his team for the initiative to closely work with the State Governments to achieve the long expected food security under the ‘Renewed Hope’ Agenda of President Bola Tinubu, and called for resuscitation of the moribund Agricultural Development Programmes, ADPs, in some States, and the active role of River Basin Development Authorities, RBDAs, including National Agricultural Lands Development Authority, NALDA, to embark on land clearing for more agricultural activities along various value chains.

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