Tinubu Declares State Of Emergency On Food Security

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In a decisive move to address the growing concerns about food security in the country, President Bola Tinubu has declared a state of emergency on the issue.

Tinubu Declares State Of Emergency On Food Security
President Bola Tinubu

The announcement was made by Dele Alake, the special adviser to the president on special duties, communications, and strategy, during a press briefing held at the State House on Thursday. Alake revealed that the president had recently met with stakeholders from the agriculture and food production value chain to discuss the pressing matter.

Recognizing the adverse impact of rising food costs on the lives of ordinary citizens, President Tinubu has taken concrete steps to intervene and alleviate the situation.

Alake elaborated on the details of the presidential intervention during the press conference, outlining measures that would be implemented to address food security, pricing, and sustainability concerns.

One of the immediate actions to be taken is the prompt release of fertilizers and grains to farmers and households. This move aims to mitigate the effects of the removal of petrol subsidies, thereby easing the financial burden on the populace.

Alake emphasized that President Tinubu had approved the inclusion of food and water availability and affordability as essential livelihood items within the purview of the National Security Council (NSC).

“As a direct and immediate response to this crisis, a number of initiatives will be deployed in the coming weeks to reverse this inflationary trend and guarantee future uninterrupted supplies of affordable foods to ordinary Nigerians,” Alake said.

“As with most emergencies, there are immediate, medium- and long-term interventions and solutions. In the immediate term, we intend to deploy some savings from the fuel subsidy removal into the Agricultural sector focusing on revamping the agricultural sector.

“In an earlier meeting with Agriculture Stakeholders (today), we drafted a memorandum of partnership between the government and the individual stakeholder representatives that encompasses the decisions taken and actions proposed from our engagements.

“The immediate intervention strategies are as follows:

1. We will immediately release fertilizers and grains to farmers and households to mitigate the effects of the subsidy removal.

2. There must be an urgent synergy between the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Water Resources to ensure adequate irrigation of farmlands and to guarantee that food is produced all year round.

As a country, Mr. President has made it clear that we cannot be comfortable with seasonal farming. We can no longer afford to have farming times.

3. We shall create and support a National Commodity Board that will review and continuously assess food prices as well as maintain a strategic food reserve that will be used as a price stabilization mechanism for critical grains and other food items.

“Through this board, the government will moderate spikes and dips in food prices.”

The special adviser said the board would consist of stakeholders from the National Commodity Exchange (NCX), seed companies, National Agricultural Seeds Council (NASC) research institutes, NIRSAL microfinance bank, and food processing/ agric processing associations, among others.

“We will engage our security architecture to protect the farms and the farmers so that farmers can return to the farmlands without fear of attacks,” Alake said.

“The Central Bank will continue to play a major role in funding the agricultural value chain.

“Activation of land banks. There are currently 500,000 hectares of already mapped land that will be used to increase the availability of arable land for farming which will immediately impact food output.

“Mechanization and land clearing- The government will also collaborate with mechanization companies to clear more forests & make them available for farming.

“River basins- there are currently 11 river basins that will ensure the planting of crops during the dry season with irrigation schemes that will guarantee continuous farming production all year round, to stem the seasonal glut and scarcity that we usually experience.

“We will deploy concessionary capital/funding to the sector, especially towards fertilizer, processing, mechanization, seeds, chemicals, equipment, feed, labor, etc.”

In addition to these interventions, the government will explore improved transportation and storage methods, increase revenue from food and agricultural exports, and facilitate trade to effectively tackle the food crisis.

President Bola Tinubu’s declaration of a state of emergency on food security demonstrates the government’s commitment to ensuring the availability, affordability, and sustainability of food for all Nigerians.

With a comprehensive action plan in place, immediate relief measures will be deployed, while medium and long-term strategies will be implemented to tackle the underlying challenges and establish a resilient agricultural sector in the country.

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