CEM REPORT, FOOD | The Ministry of Agriculture has allayed fears of food shortage in the country due to the recent ravaging floods.
The ministry said arrangements are in place to intensify dry season farming in the country to make up for the loss of production in flood affected places and other areas that have become inaccessible due to insecurity.
The Minister of Agriculture, Mohammed Mahmood, made the statement after a Federal Executive Council (FEC) presided over by Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Wednesday.
Explaining how food shortage can be averted in the country the minister said, the ministry has secured funding for dry season farming adding that the nation has several grains reserved for eventualities.
“Number one, first and foremost, we have in place an intensive plan for dry season farming. We have gotten funding from the African Development Bank, we have some money also in our own provision, also, IFAD, that is the International Fund for Agricultural Development also just donated or grant, if you will, $5 million.
“So, we have some money that we are already planning to do dry season farming. Also, in areas of conflict, we are recruiting additional rangers. I told you in another forum that we have Agro Rangers that provide some measure of security on farm lands. We are recruiting more to do that.
“Also, we are intensifying farming in areas that have no conflict to make up for those areas that we are getting little or no access. So, the thing is the government, Mr. President, has specifically directed that we do everything humanly possible to make sure there is no food shortage in the country and I can tell you, there will not be any food shortage.
“Between the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Central Bank and other private investors in agriculture, there’s enough grains in our own silos, in CBN and silos, that will cater for any eventualities and currently, the Humanitarian Ministry is picking up some grains from us to distribute to the needy. So, I can assure you, by the grace of God, there will be no food shortage.”
While urging farmers to take insurance cover for their farms, the Minister said government will come to the aid of farmers without insurance that are affected by the floods.
“We always encourage farmers to take insurance. There are farmers that have taken insurance. So, now is the time for compensation after we finish all the assessments.
“Number four, the government will always have a plan of action or emergency response, just like this. What can the government do? What can the government do also to compensate those that don’t have insurance? Not really compensation, but assist, come to the aid. We have that plan and we’re already activating, pending when we finish all the assessments,” he stated.
Mahmood also revelaed that FEC approved the Revised Comprehensive Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan for the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in Nigeria (the Animal Component).