The Federal Government has commenced meeting with stakeholders through the National Council on Agriculture and Rural Development (NCARD) in a bid to mitigate the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, floods and conflicts on food security.
This is against the backdrop of recent reports by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Program (WFP) that listed Northern Nigeria as one of the 20 countries where acute hunger is expected to soar.
The Permanent Secretary, Dr Ernest Umakhile while declaring open the 44th NCARD meeting urged stakeholders to come up with strategies to scale up food production, processing and marketing within the agribusiness ecosystem to avert food crisis and engender food sufficiency for the growing Nigerian population.
While reiterating Federal Government’s commitment to implementing the framework of the National Economic Sustainability Plan and the Nigerian Agricultural Technology and Innovation Plan as a strategy for food resilience and economic development, he highlighted some efforts in the sector to include, “the provision of mechanization 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.
He emphasized the commitment of the ministry “to 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”.
Umakhihe stressed the importance of sustaining the collaboration on agribusiness initiatives to facilitate incentives to researchers, farmers and processors geared towards increase in agricultural output and match National requirements.
The Federal Capital Territory Secretary of Agriculture, Ibe Prospect, noted that the coming of COVID -19 is a wakeup call for a new beginning in agriculture and for nations to ensure sustainability of their internal food supply.