President Muhammadu Buhari says the federal government’s wisdom in promoting self-reliance over the years has significantly helped prevent a food crisis, despite the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
Speaking at the National Food Security Council meeting held at the State House, Buhari argued that the pandemic had exposed the level of preparedness of nations to the impacts of food security.
He pointed out that more efforts are needed to increase food production and self-sufficiency, ensuring that the federal government will continue to promote policies that favor investments in the agricultural sector.
“The coronavirus pandemic has illustrated more than any event in recent history how countries must do more to protect food systems. It has also exposed the limits of dependence on other countries.
“In the last five years, we have recorded remarkable achievements. Despite the decline in GDP by 6.1 percent in the second quarter of 2020 as a direct result of the coronavirus, the agricultural sector continued to grow due to government-led policies, “he said.
The president, who praised Nigerian farmers for contributing to stable food security, said favorable rainy seasons should serve as a stimulus for many to adopt farming as a vocation.
“I am pleased to note that the majority of Nigerians are seizing opportunities in the agricultural and agribusiness sector.
“I want to assure you that this government will continue to support these initiatives and many more to come,” he said.
The president also said that efforts will be channeled into innovative forms of agriculture that will ensure maximum production.
“To protect agricultural investments and increase the confidence of our farmers, we have deployed thousands of rangers and rural communities integrated into the formal economy, expanding access to credit and inputs for rural farmers and building secondary roads.
“We have invested in building our strategic grain reserves in recent years, which recently released significant amounts to cushion the adverse impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on vulnerable households and industries,” he added.
Buhari expressed solidarity with the farmers and families who lost their loved ones due to the recent floods in the country, and assured that the government will support those affected.
Earlier in his remarks, the President’s Chief of Staff, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, noted with concern that the recent rise in food prices was gradually turning into a food crisis with the ability to threaten the country’s food security.
However, he described the decline in food prices as a positive development as new grains are introduced to markets across the country.
Gambari, who is also a member of the National Food Safety Council, revealed that he met with agricultural products associations to determine the remote and immediate causes of the increase in food prices.
He said: “Yesterday, my office as the secretary of the National Food Safety Council, met with the agricultural products association to determine the root causes of the recent increase in food prices and to develop strategies to mitigate what could be a potential crisis. .
“Although several concerns were raised about the root cause of the increase in the cost of commodities, we have been informed that prices are actually declining as new grains are brought to market.
“For example, new corn that previously sold for N25,000 per bag now sells between N12,000 and N17,000, and is expected to fall between N7,000 and N8,000 per bag in November, according to the various leaders of the agricultural products association.
“The fall in prices has also been experienced in millet, beans and sorghum. Therefore, the walk should be seen as a transitory situation. “
Gambari reiterated the determination of the Buhari administration to address the transitory nature and price of food in the country.
Also speaking to House correspondents at the end of the meeting, Kebbi Council Vice President and Governor Alhaji Atiku Bagudu said that President Buhari was updated on the food security situation by six state governors representing the six geopolitical zones. from the country.
He also expressed hope that food prices will collapse soon as new grains continue to flood the country’s markets.
Bagudu revealed that President Buhari took the opportunity of the meeting to sympathize with flood victims across the country (NAN).