FG Keen on Implementing NATIP to Mitigate Hunger, Boost Food Resilience

The Federal Government has restated its commitment towards driving policies and actions that would bolster Nigeria’s agricultural productivity, amid concerns of the risk of severe hunger.

This was disclosed on Tuesday during the 44th Regular Meeting of the National Council on Agriculture and Rural Development (NCARD) which kicked off in Abuja with the theme “Nigeria’s Agriculture and Food Security in the face of COVID – 19, Floods and Insecurity.”

Earlier, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP) had jointly warned that acute hunger was set to soar in over 20 countries without urgent and scaled-up assistance of which Yemen, South Sudan and Northern Nigeria topped the list.

According to the Federal Government, this was due to the rising challenges from COVID- 19, floods and insecurity in the country which has placed agriculture as a springboard for socio-economic recovery, stabilisation and growth in the face of food Insecurity.

Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), Dr Ernest A. Umakhihe, in a statement, said that the government was committed to implementing the framework of the National Economic Sustainability Plan and the Nigerian Agricultural Technology and Innovation Plan (NATIP) as a strategy for food resilience and economic development.

In his remarks, he stated that the initiative was geared primarily towards assessing the effects of extant policies and programs, fine-tuning existing strategies, and shaping initiatives for agricultural development in Nigeria.

He highlighted the Federal Government’s efforts in the sector to include: “the provision of mechanisation, inputs to farmers, training of extension agents on extension service delivery in crop, fishery, and livestock value chain activities and construction of mini earth dam for irrigation activities.

“Others are the facilitation of rice, milk, cassava processing plants, bush clearing, farmers market, commercial pasture plots, windmill powered boreholes and rural roads.

“Similar is the conduct of aerial spray against the seasonal invasion of quelea birds in the North East and North West frontline States to migrate losses,” he added.

Umakhihe further stressed the need for stakeholders in the 44th NCARD to consider themselves as engine rooms saddled with the responsibility of putting strategies in place.

He urged the stakeholders to explore linkages for an increase in production, processing, and marketing within the agribusiness ecosystem, to avert food crisis and engender food sufficiency for the growing Nigerian population.

The Perm. Sec. also stressed the importance of sustaining the collaboration on agribusiness initiatives to facilitate incentives to researchers, farmers, and processors geared towards an increase in agricultural output and match National requirements.

This, he said, will encourage more individuals and institutions to invest in agriculture and create livelihoods and wealth for the populace. He urged the stakeholders to sustain cooperation on agriculture and food security for socio-economic development in Nigeria.

Umakhihe further emphasised the commitment of the ministry “be tied to the commodity value chain concept of strengthening sectoral linkages, Import substitution initiatives, value-added Processing, and Export-oriented activities in the country.”

In his address, Secretary of Agriculture, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mr. Ibe Prospect, noted that the coming of COVID -19 was a wakeup call for a new beginning in agriculture because this has shown that nations unable to sustain their internal food supply may not survive in times of grave demand posed by disasters like COVID-19.

He made this known while presenting the paper “Promoting Private Investments and Financing Agribusiness Value Chains in the Face of COVID- 19 Pandemic, Floods and Insecurity”.


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