President Muhammadu Buhari has inaugurated the National Food Security Council, urging members to take into account strategies that will consider the inter-connectivity of farming, forestry, livestock sustenance and fishing, to ensure equity and sustainability.
The council, which comprises six governors drawn from six geographical locations of the country, and ministers and security agents, has among its key mandate to continuously assess existing food security policies, trade and national planning programmes “thereby guaranteeing that they achieve their full potential.”
While inaugurating the council which is chaired by himself, the president said the council “shall also develop new programmes and projects that will protect and indeed, create more jobs in farming, fisheries, animal husbandry and forestry.”
He also said the council would look at other issues with the capacity to impact on food production ambitions such as population growth, urbanisation, industrialisation, rural infrastructure development and climate change.
The president then proceeded to list the commitments of the council to include investment in research and development, developing local programmes, protecting Nigeria against dumping of foreign goods, and holding consultations with relevant stakeholders.
“These factors will also stress and stretch our land and water resources. This means we must invest in research and development to enhance yields and outputs. Moreover, we are not insulated from global and regional events.
“Accordingly we develop local programmes, but not lose sight of events from a far and their impact on us. Specifically, issues such as smuggling and dumping, it is our responsibility to ensure we develop and enforce strategies to protect Nigeria from these illegal and unhealthy imports.
“The council includes governors representing the six geopolitical zones. Some geopolitical zones have similar eco climatic conditions. The council is therefore a platform to further enhance the collaboration between the federal and state governments. We shall share success stories and collaborate to address common threats.
“We will also engage key stakeholders representing the core sectors of the Food Value Chain. Regular consultations will be held with investors, development partners, financiers, academia and our friends and allies abroad.
“Our deliberations will look into all the issues and our decisions will be implementable and impactful. We shall stay focused, first and foremost on securing our food requirements and employment for our people, especially the youths. We shall feed ourselves and build an inclusive Nigeria for ourselves and for future generations,” he said.
Briefing journalists at the end of the inauguration, Kebbi State Governor, Atiku Bagudu, said the president had captured the main objectives of the council to include strengthening all existing policies on food security including policies on trade, agronomy, national planning and national security.
According to him, the design was to bring all states together to deliver food security to Nigeria.
Also briefing, Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, who said governors were drawn into the council from the six geo-political zones of the country, added that each governor spoke on food security as it affects his zone during the inauguration.
Okowa said in the last few years, a lot had been done on rice production which he said had reduced the amount of money hitherto spent on rice importation adding that the trend had given confidence that in no time, Nigeria would be self-sufficient in rice production.
He also listed challenges confronting rice production in Nigeria to include influx of rice through the borders which he said needed to be addressed.He also said the council discussed the need to develop oil palm plantations and spend a lot of money on wheat production with a view to achieving food sufficiency.
Source: Naija News