President Muhammadu Buhari has mandated the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) to ensure that the 2020 farming season is not affected by the novel COVID-19 pandemic.
President Buhari in his nationwide address to the nation on Monday, tasked the Minister of Agriculture, Alhaji Sabo Nanono, alongside the Food Security Emergency Committee to join forces with the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 to ensure full sustenance of the agriculture sector during this crisis.
The President in his speech, today, extended the lockdown on the Federal Capital Territory, Lagos and Ogun states, by another fourteen days, effective 11:59 pm, Monday, 13th April.
He said, “With this in mind and having carefully considered the briefings and Report from the Presidential Task Force and the various options offered, it has become necessary to extend the current restriction of movement in Lagos and Ogun States as well as the FCT for another 14 days effective from 11:59 pm on Monday, 13th of April, 2020. I am therefore once again asking you all to work with Government in this fight.
He, however, instructed the Food Committee to ensure that the agriculture sector is not held bound by the clutches of the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic.
“I am also directing the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, the National Security Adviser, the Vice-Chairman, National Food Security Council and the Chairman, Presidential Fertiliser Initiative to work with the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 to ensure the impact of this pandemic on our 2020 farming season is minimized,”
“In the past two weeks, we announced palliative measures such as food distribution, cash transfers and loans repayment waivers to ease the pains of our restrictive policies during this difficult time. These palliatives will be sustained,” Buhari said in part.
In his previous address two weeks ago, President Buhari had exempted essential agric services – food processing, distribution, and retail companies – from the aforesaid 14-day lockdown.
However, there have been cries by farmers and producers of agricultural products, of alleged mistreatments by enforcers of the lockdown restrictions in the affected states.