Steps to mitigate the sufferings experienced by Nigerians following the removal of fuel subsidy on May 29, this year, may have seen President Bola Tinubu declaring a state of emergency on food security….Continue reading
Special Adviser to the President on Special Duties, Communications and Strategy, Dele Alake, on Thursday, declared that President Tinubu came to the decision after wide consultation with stakeholders in the food and agriculture value chain, co-opting the Central Bank of Nigeria, Customs, Farmers Association, key financial experts, among others.
He described the measures as part of Tinubu-led administration’s immediate response to the current food inflation in the country.
According to him, Tinubu being a hands-on-leader who follows developments across the country every day, is not unmindful of the rising cost of food and how it affects the citizens.
He noted that while availability is not a problem, affordability has been a major issue to many Nigerians in all parts of the country.
This, he said, has led to a significant drop in demand thereby undermining the viability of the entire agriculture and food value chain.
“In line with this administration’s position on ensuring that the most vulnerable are supported, Mr. President has declared, with immediate effect the following actions: “That a state of emergency on food security be announced immediately,” Alake stated on behalf of the Federal Government.
The presidential aide went further to state that all matters pertaining to food & water availability and affordability, as essential livelihood items, be included within the purview of the National Security Council.
He said as a direct and immediate response to this crisis, a number of initiatives will be deployed in the coming weeks to reverse this inflationary trend and guarantee future uninterrupted supplies of affordable foods to ordinary Nigerians.
“As with most emergencies, there are immediate, medium- and long-term interventions and solutions.
“In the immediate term, we intend to deploy some savings from the fuel subsidy removal into the agricultural sector focusing on revamping the agricultural sector.
“In an earlier meeting with agriculture stakeholders (today), we drafted a memorandum of partnership between the government and the individual stakeholder representatives that encompasses the decisions taken and actions proposed from our engagements,” he noted.
Among the immediate intervention strategies the government has adopted include the immediate release of fertilisers and grains to farmers and households to mitigate the effects of the subsidy removal.
He also said the Federal Government has adopted an urgent synergy between the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Water Resources to ensure adequate irrigation of farmlands and to guarantee that food is produced all-year round.
According to the presidential aide, Mr. President has made it clear that we cannot be comfortable with seasonal farming. “We can no longer afford to have farming down times.
“We shall create and support a National Commodity Board that will review and continuously assess food prices as well as maintain a strategic food reserve that will be used as a price stabilisation mechanism for critical grains and other food items.
“Through this board, government will moderate spikes and dips in food prices. To achieve this, we have the following stakeholders on board to support the intervention effort of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu: The National Commodity Exchange (NCX), Seed Companies, National Seed Council and Research institutes, NIRSAL Microfinance Bank, Food Processing/Agric Processing associations, private sector holders & prime anchors, small holder farmers, crop associations and fertiliser producers, blenders and suppliers associations to mention a few.
“We will engage our security architecture to protect the farms and the farmers so that farmers can return to the farmlands without fear of attacks.
“The central bank will continue to play a major role of funding the agricultural value chain.
“Activation of land banks. There is currently 500,000 hectares of already mapped land that will be used to increase availability of arable land for farming which will immediately impact food output.
“Mechanisation and land clearing- the government will also collaborate with mechanisation companies to clear more forests and make them available for farming,” Alake stated while briefing State House correspondents.
Commenting on river basins, he said there are currently 11 rivers basins that will ensure planting of crops during the dry season with irrigation schemes that will guarantee continuous farming production all year round, to stem the seasonal glut and scarcity that we usually experience.
He said government will equally deploy concessionary capital/funding to the sector especially towards fertilizer, processing, mechanization, seeds, chemicals, equipment, feed, labour, among others…Continue reading