FG Announces Measures To Fight Hunger In Nigeria

By Sunday Etuka, Abuja

Alarmed by the rising prices of food stuffs occasioned by the inflation rate in the country, the Federal Government has announced measures that would be implemented over the next 180 days to better the situation.

The Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Senator Abubakar Kyari who announced the measures in a Press Briefing in Abuja on Monday said, the measures were also intended to alleviate immediate food shortages, and strengthen domestic production capabilities to enhance long term food security.

Some of the measures include, “a 150-Day Duty Free Import Window for Food Commodities, suspension of duties, tariffs and taxes for the importation of certain food commodities (through land and sea borders), these commodities include Maize, Husked Brown Rice, Wheat and Cowpeas”.

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He said, under this arrangement, imported food commodities would be subjected to a Recommended Retail Price (RRP).

In addition to the importation by private sector, the Minister further announced that the Federal Government would import 250,000MT of Wheat and 250,000MT of Maize.

“The imported food commodities in their semi processed state will target supplies to the small-scale processors and millers across the country”, he explained.

Kyari announced others measures to include, engaging relevant stakeholders to set a Guaranteed Minimum Price (GMP) and mop up surplus assorted food commodities to restock the National Strategic Food Reserve.

“Continuous ramp-up production for the 2024/2025 farming cycle, sustained support to smallholder farmers in the ongoing wet season farming through existing government initiatives, strengthen and accelerate Dry Season Farming across the country, embark on aggressive agricultural mechanization and development to reduce drudgery, drive down the cost of production and boost productivity, collaborate with Sub-National to identify irrigable lands and increase land under cultivation, work closely with the Federal Ministry of Water Resources and Sanitation, to rehabilitate and maintain irrigation facilities under river basin authorities across the federation.

“Development of a strategic engagement for youth and women across the federation for immediate greenhouse cultivation of horticultural crops such as tomatoes and pepper to increase production volume, stabilize prices, and address food shortages, fast-tracking ongoing engagements with the Nigerian Military to rapidly cultivate arable lands under the Defence Farms Scheme, while encouraging other Para-Military establishments to put secured available arable lands to cultivation”.

He said, as part of these measures, the Renewed Hope National Livestock Transformation Implementation Committee would be inaugurated on Tuesday, 9th July 2024 with a view to developing and implementing policies that prioritize livestock development and ensure alignment with the National Livestock Transformation Plan.

“Enhancement of Nutrition Security through the promotion of production of fortified food commodities and offer necessary support to scale up the Home Garden Initiative by the Office of The First Lady of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“Over the next 14 days, in close collaboration with the Presidential Food Systems Coordinating Unit (PFSCV) and the Economic Management Team (EMT), we will convene with the respective Agencies to finalize the implementation frameworks.

“We will ensure that information is publicly available to facilitate the participation of all relevant stakeholders across the country.

“The PFSCU will manage a dashboard for Mr. President, providing him with direct visibility into these interventions and ensuring accountability”, he said.

The Minister, however, said that the success of the measures aforementioned was contingent on the cooperation and collaboration of all relevant Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and stakeholders.

“As our nation confronts a critical food security challenge, let me reiterate Mr. President’s unwavering commitment to attaining food security and ensuring that no Nigerian goes to bed hungry”, he said.

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