FG excited over Governors’ endorsement of food security programmes

Agric Minister, Abubakar Kyari

…says food prices ‘ll soon abate with all-year-round farming

…Governors demand return of CBN agric programmes to Ministry

THE Federal Government, Monday, expressed excitement and hope 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 Taraba State,Dr Agbu Kefas; Governor of Ondo State, Lucky Orimisan Aiyedatiwa; and Governor of Kogi State, Ahmed Usman Ododo, at the Ministry’s headquarters in Abuja on a courtesy visit, said it was a strong political will and synergy in the agricultural sector between the Governors who have visited before and those who came today (Monday) including those expected to visit soon.

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. This visit is, in my view, beyond a courtesy call.

“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.

“We have seen the examples of some states in the course of the Wheat Production Programme, and even now in preparation for the Second Phase.

“These states have purchased power tillers and other mechanized implements, solar-powered water pumps, and recruited and trained Extension Agents whose involvement is vital to the dissemination of agricultural innovations to the farmers including equipping them with suitable agronomic practices and expectedly higher yields per hectare.

“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.

“I should also like to point out that a success factor in the second phase will involve early determination by states of adequacy of 50 per cent subsidies being provided by the Federal Government under the NASG Project. This is because some farmers in some states could not come up with counterpart funding required for their input redemption thereby prompting some State Governments to further subsidize them.”

However, to avoid glitches experienced in the first phase farming season, the Minister gave guidelines for implementation of the Second Phase farming season commencing soon.

Meanwhile, speaking on behalf of the four Governors, the Kwara State Governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, said it is high time the Tinubu-led administration return 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 ac 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 th entire West Africa, which he pointed 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, therefore 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.

He promised that the State Governments are ready to support the programmes of the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security.

“In Nigeria today, food security now is an urgency we must tackle. One thing that we have come to realization is that there is a new Ministry of Agriculture.

“Over the years prior to this administration the engagement was not productive; the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, took over most of the things the Federal Ministry of Agriculture used to do.

“I came to this Ministry several times we were not fruitful but this time around we have seen strong engagements from the new team here today.

“That is why you seen serious engagements from the Governors, we want to move on quickly, the dry season is going very fast.

“We can feed Nigeria. India, the largest population is feeding themselves and exporting food, China is doing the same thing, we must do the same thing. We must make sure we feed ourselves 100 per cent and export food from Nigeria.

“On this note, I will like to say that the Federal Government support this Ministry, and things are changing, plough back all was given to Central Bank of Nigeria back into this Ministry. We are ready to work with you”, he said.

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