President Muhammadu Buhari says the Covid-19 pandemic has exposed the level of preparedness of nations to shocks of food security, explaining that the Nigerian Government’s wisdom in promoting self-sufficiency over the years helped significantly in averting a food crisis.
At the National Food Security Council meeting held at the State House on Thursday, President Buhari noted that there was need for more effort to increase food production and self-sufficiency, assuring Nigerians that Government would continue to promote policies that favour investments in the agriculture sector.
He said: “the Coronavirus pandemic has illustrated more than any event in recent history how countries must strive harder to protect food systems. It has also exposed the limits of dependency on other countries.
“In the last five years we have recorded notable achievements. Despite the decline in GDP by 6.1 per cent in Q2 of 2020 as a direct result of Coronavirus, the agricultural sector continued to grow because of government targeted policies.’’
President Buhari, who commended Nigerian farmers for contributing to the stability in food security, said the favourable rainy seasons should serve as encouragement for many to take up farming as a vocation.
“I am pleased to note that most Nigerians are taking advantage of the opportunities in the agriculture and agric-business 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 efforts would be channelled to innovative ways of farming that will guarantee maximum output.
“To protect agricultural investments and boost confidence to our farmers we have deployed thousands of agro-rangers and integrated rural communities to the formal economy by extending access to credit and inputs to rural farmers and building feeder roads.
“We have invested in building our strategic grain reserves in recent years which we recently released significant quantities to cushion the adverse impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to vulnerable households and industries,’’ the President said.
He sympathised with farmers and families that lost loved ones to recent floods in the country, promising that the government would support those that were affected.
The meeting was attended by Secretary to Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, Chief of Staff to the President, Ibrahim Gambari and Governors of Ebonyi, Lagos, Jigawa, Plateau, Taraba and Kebbi amongst others.
The Governors represented their geo-political zones but the representative of the South-South zone, Delta State Governor was unavoidably absent.
Source: Voice of Nigeria