To affirm his stance in transforming the agricultural sector, President Muhammadu Buhari says he will soon set up a National Food Security Council that will oversee the nation’s pursuit for food security.
Buhari made the disclosure while receiving in audience a Delegation of Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria, Rice Millers Association and Rice Distributors, at the State House.
The president in the company of Vice President, Yemi Osinbanjo; Central Bank Governor, Dr Godwin Emefile and the Governors of Jigawa and Kebbi State, Mr Abubakar Badaru and Mr Atiku Bagudu, said the council will further help in ensuring productivity in the agricultural sector.
He added that the council members will consist of governors, ministers, security agencies and key stakeholders across the entire agricultural segments of farming, fisheries and livestock management.
“Our experiences today of clashes between farmers and herdsmen or the challenges fishermen face due to global warming and other environmental factors clearly demonstrates that our quest for food security has a direct link to our national security objectives.
Buhari stated that the Food Security Council will ensure alignment and bring efficiencies in the agricultural sector.
“I want to assure all Nigerians that this administration is committed to Nigeria feeding itself. And from what I have heard today this can happen in not too distant future,” he said.
The president further noted that in the area of rice production, his administration has done better than the previous administration, stating that between 2016 and 2018 eight new rice mills have been established against his predecessor’s 12 mills for a period of 7 years.
He, however, regretted that Nigerians abandoned agriculture for oil despite economic potentials inherent in it, noting that the present administration has been able to revamp the neglected sector with brilliant initiatives over the last three years.
“Indeed, Nigeria’s backbone was built by the farmers. Somehow, we as a society abandoned the agriculture sector of our economy.
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“Agriculture became an afterthought and we forced our farmers into poverty. “Thankfully, Nigerians have now woken up to the fact that it is an embarrassment for us, as a nation, to import most of what we eat, given the great natural gifts of our country.
“We have the fertile land; we have water and the manpower to feed ourselves. Therefore, we have no reason to import essential foodstuffs.
“When we came in 2015, there were 13 rice mills in Nigeria. Twelve of these were built between 2009 and 2015. This was an average of two mills per annum. But my team and I felt more could be done.
“And we put in place measures and policies to unlock the potential of this sector and thus, increase the rate of investments,’’ Buhari said.
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