Govs Seek Strategy to Avert Food Crisis

In furtherance to ensuring Food Security, State Governors of Kwara, Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq; Taraba, Dr. Agbu Kefas; Ondo, Lucky Aiyedatiwa; and Kogi, Ahmed Ododo have stormed the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security (FMAFS) to push for increased crop production to tackle food inflation and food shortages in Nigeria.

Speaking during the event that took place in Abuja recently, The Hon Minister, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, Sen. Abubakar Kyari, CON, stated that the visit was without 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.

He revealed that “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 as promoting inclusivity”.

Sen. Kyari added that, “ahead of the second phase of the Dry Season Food Production Programme under the national Agricultural Growth Scheme and Agro-Pocket (NASG- AP), I sent out Expression of Interests to Governors of the 36 States and FCT to which responses have been encouraging”.

He pointed out that the Ministry was putting behind, the challenges encountered during the first Phase of the Dry Season Farming with Wheat in the 15 participating States, noting that after detailed and careful evaluation of some of the glitches that characterized that phase and with collective stakeholders’ proposals, there will be additional implementation guidelines for the Second Phase commencing soon.

The Minister highlighted the guidelines to include; there shall be established, a NAGS-AP State Working Committee chaired by the Executive Governor or his representative and the Committee should consist of the following members; Hon. Commissioners of Agriculture, Hon. Commissioners for LGA, State Coordinators amongst other members.

He, therefore solicited that Governors use the instrumentality of their Offices to ensure the readiness of their respective States for optimal participation in the second phase for cultivation of Rice, Maize and Cassava, adding that land is prepared and available for immediate cultivation; that irrigable lands are allotted or owned by verifiable genuine farmers and that the state is participating to last mile of entire chain.

Speaking on behalf of the Governors, the Executive Governor of Kwara State and Chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum, stated that adequate concentration should be given to food security, but stressed that Nigeria’s food remained the cheapest in West Africa, prompting Nigeria’s neighbours to trade on the food with huge profit.

In his words, “They are taking our Soya and other stuff to make foreign exchange for themselves. That is not a bad thing, what we need to do is to ramp up production and increase our yields per hectare, so that we can feed West Africa, feed ourselves 100 per cent and export food, that is the goal we must achieve, the Governor stated.”

In his remarks, the Hon Minister of State, FMAFS, Sen. Dr. Abdullahi Sabi Aliyu, CON, stated that collaboration and synergy would ensure that we work together to achieve food security in the country, noting that Federal Government must have a very strong collaboration with the State Government to tackle the issue of portfolio farmers and block all leakages for the benefit of the citizens.

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