PROGRAMME ALERT: Agric Reality TV Show to Empower Nigerian Youths Debut.

The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in collaboration with Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) Startimes, Radio, Television and Theatre Workers Union of Nigeria (RATTAWU) and other Stakeholders would commence an Agricultural reality show called NAIJA FARMER. The Naija Farmer Reality show is a youth empowerment project aimed principally to transform unemployed Nigeria youths to Employers of labour. 

The project would create over 1 Million Agribusiness owners within 10 years and by extension lift over 20 Million youths out of poverty in the next decade, pursuant to the President Muhammadu Buhari’s pledged to lift Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years. All participants would receive Seed Capital from the Bank of Agriculture (BOA) and other financial institution to establish Smallholder Agribusiness after the extensive training on television.

Beneficiaries will also become celebrities and supermodels for upcoming farmers and Nigerian youths. The Maiden edition of Naija Farmer reality show would include 21 Housemates selected from the Six Geopolitical zones of the country at a located Naija Farmer House in Abuja. It would be a – 24-hour Reality Show on Channel 140 of Startimes Bouquet already being test run. The channel would in addition showcase a 24-hour Reality Entertainment and progress made in the Agricultural Sector. 

The Naija Farmer Reality show would commence officially on 29th November 2020 on Channel 140 of Startimes Bouquet.

FMARD Repositions Its Agencies and Research Institutes for Sustainable Food Production and Diversification.

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), Alhaji Muhammad Sabo Nanono has stated that the ministry will continue to strengthen its partnership with its agencies and agricultural research institutes in order to collectively deliver on its mandate.

He said the collaboration would help to further strengthen sectoral linkages and promote import-substitution, enterprise development, value-added processing and economic diversification. The Minister made this statement during the One-Day Retreat for Chief Executives and Chairmen of Boards of Agencies and Parastatals of the Ministry held at Chida Hotel, Jabi –Abuja on Thursday,19th November 2020. Alhaji Sabo Nanono informed that ‘’ In line with the Ministry’s signed deliverables with the Presidency, the priority area for food security entails engagement with state and non-state actors to facilitate programmes to farmers on mechanization, extension delivery, commodity production, storage facilities, agro-processing, grazing reserves, livestock transformation and fisheries’’. 

The Minister noted that ‘’ at the moment, the Ministry took a pragmatic approach of repositioning the agricultural research system, securing 20,000 to 100,000 hectares of land per State for agricultural use, and promoting agro and agro-allied cluster activities nationwide’’. He pointed out that ‘’ expectations are to deploy improved varieties, expand the cultivable land area and support agribusiness undertakings in the country’’. 

Nanono emphasized that  ‘’ towards having a mutual commitment to growing the sector, we must comply with the established protocols of channelling policies, views and requests from the Executive Managements through the Governing Boards of Parastatals to the Authorities of the Ministry’’. He reiterated that ‘’ for the Ministry’s representatives on the Boards of Parastatals, you are to update your principals on vital issues resolved at Board Meetings while relaying the Ministry’s position on such issues to respective Parastatals Board and Management’’. 

The Minister Observed that ‘’ the provisions of Administrative Guidelines and Procedures on the relationship between Ministries and Parastatals, are to enable us to ensure orderliness, responsibility, transparency and consensus in the conceptualization and implementation of policies, programmes and projects’’. He also said that ‘’ We all need to recommit ourselves to the development of the sector by aligning progress, fine-tuning strategies, de-risking options, streamlining interventions, pooling resources and implementing projects.

Failure, ladies and gentlemen, is not an option’’. He assured that ‘’the Ministry under my leadership is open to constructive interface and will support any concept, initiative and strategy that can guide, facilitate and fast-track the implementation of policies, programmes and projects in the agricultural sector. In his remarks, the Hon. Minister of State, Agriculture and Rural Development, Hon. Mustapha Baba Shehuri stated the need for consensus in the handling of the policy, sectoral and personnel matters in a manner that will resolve them amicably and forestall misrepresentation, misconception and poor guidance.   

Hon. Baba Shehuri expressed the need to strengthen our service delivery mechanism since much is expected from the sector to enhance the country’s capacity on food security, employment generation and wealth creation. According to him ‘’ only then will we be able to address the impact of the global health emergency and the high expectation of present administration on the Agriculture sector’’. 

In his welcome address, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr Abulkadir Mu’azu stated that ‘’ our responsibility is to align sectoral strategies with the goal of social inclusion, as well as economic diversification and livelihood expansion, and therewith, implement policies, programmes and projects for impactful development in the country’’. Dr Mu’azu noted that ‘’ our stakes, responsibilities and commitments are anchored on inclusiveness, transparency and accountability in the conceptualization of initiatives and interventions, through a strategic partnership with State Governments, Farmer Associations, Private Sector Organizations and Development Partners’’. 

The Chairman, House Committee on Agricultural Colleges, Institutions and Federal Universities of Agriculture, Hon Munir Danagundi in his goodwill message, stressed that there is need for performance chart for monitoring and evaluation of Agencies to ensure value money, accountability and transparency in the Agric sector towards achieving diversification policy of President Muhammadu Buhari. In his presentation titled ‘’ Strengthening the Relationship between Ministry and its Parastatals through Strategic Communication, the Director, Planning and Policy Coordination in the Ministry, Alhaji Zubairu Abdullahi stated that the outcome and the overall impacts of effective and efficient communication cannot be overemphasized as synergy among agencies is key to the attainment of the ministry’s mandate as well as the ministerial deliverables.  

Address by The Honourable Minister Of Agriculture & Rural Development, Alh. Mohammad Sabo Nanono

WELCOME ADDRESS by the Permanent Secetary

Leadership & Teamwork for Transformation MIN of Agric 2020 by Dr. Dan E. Aighewi

Strengthening The Relationship Between The Ministry and Its Parastatals Through Strategic Communication by Zubairu Abdullahi

SPEECH OF THE HON. MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT AT THE FLAG-OFF OF THE 2020 WORLD ANTIMICROBIAL AWARENESS WEEK (WAAW)

Protocol

I am delighted to be here with you to Flag-off this year’s World Antimicrobial Awareness Week celebration in Nigeria.

The World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW) is an annual event held every November since 2015. The main aim of the week is to raise awareness on the health threats posed by Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) as well as to promote good practices that limits the emergence and spread of resistant infections globally.

The week was instituted by the tripartite organizations – World Health Organization (WHO), World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

In Nigeria, the WAAW celebration started in 2017 with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Nigeria Center for Disease Control championing the celebration under the One Health platform. The week is usually being marked with awareness creation and sensitization activities such as symposium, road shows, media engagements, school debates while at the same time targeting various stakeholders that are critical to the tackling of the AMR scourge in the country.

Antimicrobial Resistance occurs when disease causative agents such as bacteria become resistant to the actions of antimicrobials which hitherto they were known to be susceptible.

Resistance to antibiotics and other antimicrobial drugs is one of the most significant threats to global health, food security, and global development in general. Antimicrobial resistance occurs naturally, but misuse of antimicrobials in humans and animals is accelerating the process. Globally, we are running out of effective antibiotics. We can no longer ignore the urgency and gravity of this issue. If we don’t tackle this urgently, decades of advances in health and medicine are at risk of being undone.

Antibiotics use in Agriculture has been found to be a major driver of AMR with consequences on human health, animal health, plant health and food safety. Livestock farmers use antibiotics as growth promoters and egg boosters, especially in places where regulation is poor and antibiotics can be purchased without a prescription. Also, humans we are always self-medicating with inappropriate amounts of antibiotics to try to get well.

The World Antimicrobial Awareness Week aims to increase awareness about the problem and the steps we all need to take to tackle it.

We all have a role to play!

AMR is a One Health Issue –that must be tackled at the human – animal – environment interface. Today, I call on all of us to join this campaign to stop the overuse and misuse of antibiotics

As a government and policy-maker, we would take the leadership in getting the right policy in place, to ensure that antibiotics are not misused and overused.

It is also very important to emphasize that the veterinary professionals should use antimicrobials responsibly and prudently especially in food producing animals. Antibiotics should only be prescribed if they are really needed to treat infections in animals

To our Farmers, don’t use antibiotics to promote growth in animals. Antibiotics should only be used when prescribed by a Veterinary professional, for the duration indicated and withdrawal period must be observed. Vaccinations, biosecurity measures and good animal husbandry practices will reduce infections and use of antibiotics in livestock

For the pharmaceutical companies, there is need to be responsible and accountable in the marketing, supply and distribution of antimicrobials.

And finally, for the general public, let us wash our hands regularly and thoroughly to stop germs from spreading. Don’t pressurize your doctor to prescribe antibiotics if they’re not needed. And if you really do need them, make sure to always follow your doctor’s advice on the right course of treatment.

In conclusion, antimicrobial resistance is one of the issues on which we will be judged by future generations. Our actions now will shape animal and public health for decades to come.

And on this note, I wish to formally launch the 2020 WAAW celebration in Nigeria. I will unveil a billboard displaying messages on what we need to know about AMR and what we can do to prevent it. Kindly endeavor to take home the messages and share with your loved ones.

Thank you

PROGRAMME ALERT: The 2020 World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW) #waaw2020. #WAAW2020

Theme: Let’s Handle Antimicrobials With Care.

As part of the activities to commemorate the Antibiotic Awareness Week from 18th-24th November 2020, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in collaboration with Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations is Flagging-off the 2020 World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW).

In order to create awareness on the threats of antimicrobial resistance to human, animal and environmental health, the Tripathite (World Health Organization, Food and Agricultural Organization and World Organization for Animal Health) has set aside the second week in November every year to increase awareness on antimicrobial resistance globally and to encourage best practices among the general public, health workers and policymakers to avoid the further emergence and spread of drug-resistant infections.

Nigeria has been commemorating the antibiotics awareness week since 2017. The Federal Department of Veterinary and Pest Control Services is planning activities to mark the 2020 World Antibiotics Awareness Week (WAAW).

Quality Seeds, the Bedrock of Crop Production – Sabo Nanono.

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Muhammad Sabo Nanono has stated that quality seeds are the bedrock of crop production that would ensure food nutrition and sufficiency, boost production and economic growth in Nigeria. He also stated that crops are very important for food security, job creation and the diversification agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari’s led Administration.

The Minister disclosed this during the Debriefing of Outcomes of Socio-Economic Surveys by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and Partners in Nigeria, held at the Hon. Minister Conference Room in Abuja on Tuesday 10/11/2020.The Minister stated that ‘’ as you are aware, sorghum and millet provide a diet for most of the population who live especially in the arid and semi-arid tropics of Africa including Nigeria.

These crops are major staple food consumed by over 60 million people living in Northern Nigeria where it is mostly grown, whereas groundnut is the major crop for the production of vegetable oil and critical feeds’’.Nanono further stated that ‘’ the crop is widely consumed in different forms as food and beverage; having a good source of some very important nutrients as elements like copper, manganese, phosphorus and magnesium’’He said that ‘’the Ministry is making effort to strengthen the value chains hence it held a stakeholders’ Workshop on millet in order to strategize on the ways to improve production, likewise convene a stakeholders’ workshop on the Sorghum value chain and also constitute a technical committee on sorghum varietal Mainstreaming.

He explained that it will ensure that quality seeds are available to Nigeria farmers’’The Minister lauded the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and Partners for its immense contribution in Quality Seeds for agricultural development in Nigeria.In her welcome remarks, the Director, Federal Department of Agriculture in the Ministry, Mrs Karima Babangida appreciated ICRISAT and its Partners for the contribution in the Agricultural sector especially on sorghum, pearl millet and groundnut value chains.

Mrs Babangida informed that ‘’ the ministry’s value chain signed a Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) with ICRISAT to boost sorghum production, commercialization and industrial utilization and processing, that collaboration has yielded positive results with the increase in sorghum production’’She stated that ‘’ in the cropping season of 2020, the Organisation supported the ministry by providing certified seeds of sorghum, millet and groundnut to farmers as COVID-19 Pandemic palliative. Presently, I have been notified that ICRISAT and its partners have conducted surveys on Adoption and Impact of Technologies and analysis of sorghum, pearl millet and Groundnut in Nigeria and Sorghum, pearl millet and Groundnut value chain Analysis in Nigeria’’.

During his presentation, ICRISAT Country Director, Dr Hakeem Ajeigbe, stated that the potentials of the production, processing and distribution segments of the groundnut value chain, for instance, were enormous, they could be exploited by relevant government departments at all levels for livelihoods improvement and create job opportunities ‘’Dr Ajeigbe emphasized that ‘’ there is need for proactive measures of establishing sustainable linkages in the long run and that efforts should be intensified to increase the availability of seeds of improved varieties’’

EndSARS PROTEST: FG Reiterates Commitment to Ensure Peace in the Country, Commends Conduct of Borno Youths

The Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Hon. Mustapha Baba Shehuri has commended the peaceful conduct of Borno youths during the EndSARS protest and reiterated the federal government’s commitment towards addressing all their grievances.

He appealed to all Nigerians, particularly the youths, to embrace peace and stop the looting of warehouses across the country while addressing youth leaders and stakeholders in home state, Borno.Speaking during the Presidential Stakeholders meeting held at the Government Hall in Maiduguri, Borno State, the Minister, Hon. Mustapha Baba Shehuri stated that “Mr. President in his nationwide broadcast emphasized that the youth were heard loud and clear with a pledge that the 5 – point agenda they raised, would be addressed accordingly”.Shehuri stated that the present administration is working hard through many pragmatic ways to mitigate the hardship faced by the citizens in the wake of the global COVID -19 Pandemic which has altered the dynamics of global governance, Nigeria inclusive.

The Minister informed that the ” the idea of this Presidental engagement of Stakeholders and youths is initiated by Mr President to provide the needed platform where aggrieved parties, youths, community leaders, religious leaders, professional and political leadership are expected to rub minds and develop a pragmatic approach that will rekindle hope and aspirations of our people and to help bring about lasting peace, security and development “.He stated that ” this platform provides an opportunity to solicit for more support of the political, traditional, religious, youth and women leaders in the State against the wanton destruction of lives and properties resulting from EndSARS protest”.He emphasized that ” peaceful demonstration is a constitutional right of every citizen but infringing on other people’s rights, looting, killing of innocent souls and other criminal acts that will breach public peace and national stability is not acceptable”.

The Minister pointed out that the projects executed by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development include: ” the provision of 3 solar-powered boreholes in Maiduguri, Bama, and Jere, provision of 1 motorized borehole in katsina road, Maiduguri and provision and installation of 15 units of 60 watts all in one solar street light in potiskum road, Maiduguri among others.

He stated that ” our march to the attainment of sustainable food security, employment, revenue generation, production and supply of raw materials to Agro-industries, promotion of market accessibility and competitiveness for foreign exchange earning and Rural socio-economic development is fully guaranteed through various agricultural programs and projects put in place by this administration “.He added that improvements are aggressively being pursued in areas of Agricultural Mechanization, Agricultural research, extension services, land development amongst others. Shehuri noted that the “ Federal Government policy of closing the borders has resulted in a phenomenal increase in local rice production and value increase, curtail smuggling activities injurious to our economy and boost our internally Generated Revenue “.

The Minister said that ” Mr. President has specially commended the decorum exhibited by the youth in Borno State during the recent widespread protest and further advised that they maintain that peaceful conduct, brotherhood, and communal harmony so that the State can spring back to its historic amiable position as the center of peace in the country “He solicited for continuous support, cooperation and understanding of the Borno State Governor, Prof. Babagana Zulum, traditional, Youth and religious leaders in achieving the national goal of a prosperous stable and peaceful Nigeria. In his remarks, the Executive Governor of Borno State, His Excellency, Prof. Babagana Zulum appreciated the restraint shown by the youths for not participating in the protest which he said is not unconnected to the efforts of all stakeholders in Borno.

Governor Zulum stated that his administration had initiated viable projects to transform the state, adding that he remains focused on reconstruction, rehabilitation, and resettlement of persons affected by the insurgency. Earlier in his goodwill message, the Shehu of Borno, Abubakar Umar-Garba Ibn El-Kanemi, commended the youths for not participating in the protest and described the parley as timely. He also lamented the backward trend in the state in terms of western education and revenue generation, he urged parents to enroll their wards in school.El-Kanemi urged the Federal Government to resume oil exploration in the Lake Chad Region, which was abandoned due to the insurgency.

FG Engages Stakeholders’ on Promotion and Development of Donkey Value Chain.

The Federal Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development, through her Department of Animal Husbandry Services, holds Stakeholder’s engagement on the Promotion and Development of Donkey Value Chain.

The objective of the meeting is to engage stakeholders to discuss and identify challenges facing donkey breeding, develop massive sustainable production of Donkeys, and identify interventions to support existing and prospective donkey farmers in the country.

In his address, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Dr Abdulkadir Mu’azu, represented by the Director Special Duties of the Ministry, Mrs Fausat Lawal stated that donkeys have received little or no attention from the government compared to other classes of livestock despite the fact that they are essential to livelihood and resilience of many communities.

To address this concern, and avert possible extinction of donkeys in Nigeria, the 43rd Regular Meeting of the National Council on Agriculture and Rural Development (NCARD) held April 2019, approved the establishment of Donkey Value Chain in the Department of Animal Husbandry Services. It is envisaged that this move will draw more attention from a wide range of stakeholders including Government, Development Partners and the Private sector towards research, development and investment in the breeding and multiplication of donkeys.

Mu’azu added that Donkeys are one of the ancient domesticated livestock valued in particular for their ability to survive under harsh conditions and also important for rural transportation and farming particularly in the northern part of the country.

They also support the livelihoods of the rural population in many domestic chores. Nigeria is one of the countries with a relatively large population of donkey estimated at about 974,499, which can be attributed to the cross border movements by the pastoral herdsmen from Niger, Chad, Burkina Faso, Mali and Cameroon.

This stakeholders’ engagement has become imperative due to the emergence of large-scale global trading in donkey skins, with estimates of a minimum of 1.8 million donkey skins being traded annually, especially in Africa, and 10 million per annum globally.

There is therefore urgent need to create awareness on the possible extinction of Donkey in Nigeria without matching production with increasing demands.

A thriving trade in donkey skins for export to China for the production of gelatine used in a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has become a serious threat to the donkey population in Nigeria and Africa which is tending towards extinction.

The Permanent Secretary assured that the engagement will lead to actionable resolutions for increased production, productivity and conservation to avert the extinction of Donkey in Nigeria.

In her remark, the Acting Director of the Department of Animal Husbandry Services, Mrs Winnie Lai-Solarin thanked the Permanent Secretary for his address and appreciated the Stakeholders for creating time out of their busy schedules to be part of the meeting.

SYMPOSIUM-WORLD FOOD DAY 2020: Improved Commodity Value Chain in the Agric Sector to be Sustained- Sabo Nanono

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Muhammad Sabo Nanono has reaffirmed the Federal Government’s commitment towards sustaining the improvement in the commodity value chain in the Sector by tackling the issue of land access, soil fertility, information, input access, production, among others.

He stated that the Green Alternative’s framework featured the first pillar on productivity enhancement for commodity value chain development, incorporation of private investments and institutional alignment.

The Minister, represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr Abdulkadir Mu’azu disclosed this during the Symposium/ Colloquium held on Wednesday 14, October 2020 at Chida International Hotel, in continuation of activities to mark the 2020 World Food Day which has the Theme: GROW, NOURISH, SUSTAIN.TOGETHER,’’ OUR ACTIONS ARE OUR FUTURE’’, The Minister stated that ‘’ this year’s theme is carefully selected by reorganizing the immediate need of current government’s effort to intensify production and processing across the value chain and meet domestic capacity in the shortest possible time with a focus on closing the demand-supply gaps in the agricultural sub-sector that if not critically addressed might contribute to the global food crisis currently affecting the human race’’.

Nanono further stated that ‘’ the Ministry will ensure sustainable access, availability and affordability of quality food for all Nigerians and to be a significant net provider of food to the global community and in production of raw materials to meet the needs of the expanding industrial sector’’.He added that ‘’this forum would provide ample opportunity to highlight the achievements of the Ministry along with the various sub-sector activities and the planned implementation road map for the various initiatives embarked upon by the present administration under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari’’.

The Minister further said that ‘’ policy direction is fashioned towards an increased agricultural output in the country, stressing the re-activation, and utilization of existing dams and irrigation facilities, strengthening agricultural extension services, implementing a private sector-driven mechanization Programme’’.

He pointed out that ‘’ streamlining the mandates and operations of research institutes and federal colleges in the sector, aligning the curricula of agricultural universities to the best technology and entrepreneurial practices, restructuring the bank of agriculture to promote agro-allied enterprises, collaborating with financial institutions to facilitate credits to agribusiness initiatives, mainstreaming youth and gender productivity ’’.

The Minister explained that the initiative would widen employment opportunities and sustain the contribution of agriculture to the country’s gross domestic product, aiding livelihood and achieve food security. He informed that ‘’the Agricultural Promotion Policy (APP) strategy would provide a disciplined approach to building an agribusiness ecosystem that would solve problems facing agriculture sector”, adding that “our primary focus in the agricultural sector is to ensure a virile foundation and from the implementation of the Green Alternative Policy’’.

The Minister lauded the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) immense contribution to agricultural development in Nigeria and other donor Agencies and NGOs particularly OXFAM, Action Aid Nigeria that has demonstrated commitment.

In his opening remarks, the FAO Country Representative in Nigeria, Mr Fred Kafeero, represented by Mr Abubakar Suleiman, said that the Organisation would continue to provide technical support for Nigeria’s government policies in the Agricultural sector. He disclosed the Organization’s intervention of farmers in Borno and Yobe states by providing quality fertilizer and agricultural inputs amongst several other interventions. In his Goodwill Message, the Chairman, the House of Representative, Committee on Agricultural Colleges and Institutes, Hon. Munir DanAgundi lauded President Muhammadu’s policies in the Agricultural sector which he observed has enhanced food sufficiency, job creation and economic growth.

He also pledged that the National Assembly would continue to support strong and robust laws for the betterment of Nigerians.In his lead paper presentation with the Theme: Grow, Nourish, Sustain. Together. ‘’ our Action Our Future’’, the Dean, Faculty of Agriculture, Nasarawa State University, Prof. Olumuyiwa James Jayeoba, stated that the various organs of government and stakeholders should meet the needs of vulnerable populations through emergency food assistance and improved, more accessible, social safety nets.

Prof. Jayeoba also emphasized the importance of establishing evidence-based policies and legal support for sustainable food systems, such as regulations on nutrition, decent employment, and land resources.

WORLD FOOD DAY 2020 (MINISTERIAL PRESS BRIEFING): FG Targets 5 Million Jobs to Enhance Agric Productivity – Sabo Nanono

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Muhammad Sabo Nanono has revealed that the Agriculture for Food and Job Plan(AFJP) Programme would create Five Million Jobs to enhance Agricultural Productivity, Food Security, economic growth and also mitigate the negative impact of the COVID – 19 Pandemic on Nigeria Farmers.

Speaking during the Ministerial Press Briefing to commence activities to celebrate the 2020 World Food Day with the Theme: GROW, NOURISH, SUSTAIN, TOGETHER, #OUR ACTIONS ARE OUR FUTURE, held at the Minister’s Conference Hall in Abuja, TUESDAY 13, October 2020. THE Minister stated that the objective of the plan is to create Five million jobs in the agricultural sector by ensuring that farmers cultivate more land in each state, provide zero-interest loans to farmers and agricultural inputs among others. Alhaji Sabo Nanono stated that ‘’ out of the Five million planned beneficiaries for AFJP, the ministry has empowered 1,138,000 farmer-beneficiaries across the 36 states and the FCT under the first phase of implementation’’.

The Minister added that ‘’since the beginning of the 2020 farming season, the Ministry has distributed inputs in states across the country to boost food production. Nigeria last year recorded a boost in the production of her major staple crops’’. He further said, ‘’according to the data in the Ministry, maize and rice production rose from 12.8 and 12.3 to 13.94 and 14.28 million metric tonnes (MMT) respectively last year’’.

Nanono pointed out that ‘’ the same is obtainable for cassava with production increase from 58.47 MMT in 2018 to 73.91 – and even projected to rise to 93.6 by 2023. Growth has also been recorded for groundnut, tomatoes, and sorghum production. Cattle beef, milk and fish production also rose by 166%, 146% and 11% respectively between 2018 and 2019”. According to the Minister “as a nation, we consider the relevance of eradicating poverty and hunger and transforming our food production systems to ensure sustainable food security. Significant progress has therefore been made to improve agricultural productivity since the inception of the present administration”.

Speaking further, Nanono said, “to boost food security, Nigeria has curbed imports and has established a robust rice production programme to encourage more rice production at home. Efforts in this direction are starting to show results as Nigeria is now Africa’s largest producer of rice”. He added that “the country is also the largest producer of cassava in the world. A range of policies and initiatives to strengthen the rice and cassava value chains have been put in place.

The economic potentials of both livestock and fisheries are also being harnessed and respective value chains selected and targeted for development.”In an attempt to diversify the economy, the Minister explained that the “Federal Government has continued with its renewed focus on the agricultural sector.

The government has deepened the culture with the Anchor Borrowers programme initiative and ban on the importation of some agro-commodities”.He emphasized that ‘’ the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the National Bureau of Statistics report indicate that Nigeria’s National Agricultural Import Bill also reduced from 1.2 to 1.1 billion Naira’’.

The Minister informed that ‘’ the Federal Government through the Agro Processing Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support Project (APPEALS) has set aside N600 billion as loan support to farmers across the country, No fewer than 2.4 million farmers are expected to benefit from the loan which has zero interest’’.He assured that ‘’ the support was to complement the Federal Government’s policy on agriculture, which include: promoting food security, improving farmers production and also increasing exportation’’.

The Minister also stated that ‘’ a comprehensive flood mitigation and resilience plan for the affected farming communities nationwide have been finalized by the Ministry for consideration and approval by the President”, adding that the Ministry has raised her national food reserve stock to 109,657 MT, a figure expected to be increased to 219,900 MT by the end of 2020.

The World Food Day is celebrated by over 150 member nations annually on the 16th October and nations including Nigeria line up activities to mark the day such as a symposium/colloquium, agric and roadshow. But this year’s celebration is Low keyed in compliance with the global Covid -19 pandemic.

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