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Governors cite plans to combat food crisis

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By Usman Oladimeji

The 36 State Governors have outlined diverse intervention programs.

A recent report released by the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) has outlined the diverse intervention programs and policies introduced by the 36 State Governors to address the ongoing food shortages and economic challenges nationwide. These initiatives aimed at alleviating the hardships faced by the Nigerian population and were made public for journalists over the weekend. In a statement signed by the NGF Acting Head of Media Halimah Salihu Ahmed, it was revealed that the Governors have implemented various proactive measures to address both the current food crisis and the underlying economic challenges.

Akwa Ibom State is strategizing to launch an organization that will procure food products in large quantities and subsequently offer them to the public at discounted rates. The Kano State government was praised by the Forum for taking action against storage facilities where vendors are believed to be stockpiling essential food items. To combat food scarcity and prevent high grain prices, the government of Yobe State has implemented a ban on the bulk purchase of grains in local markets, with the aim of curbing hoarding and exports to neighboring countries.

Ekiti dedicated ₦1 billion towards enhancing food production.

Niger State Governor, Mohammed Umar Bago, recently issued a decree prohibiting the bulk purchase of food items from local markets. Security forces have been instructed to seize any trucks transporting large quantities of products and distribute the food among the community. On the other hand, Governor Peter Mbah of Enugu State is dedicated to boosting the state’s economy from $4.4 billion to $30 billion by focusing on agriculture. This includes attracting investors, supporting farmers, and strengthening the rural economy. The secretary to the state government, Professor Chidiebere Onyia, who represented the president during the 2023 World Food Day celebration in Enugu conveyed this message.

Meanwhile, Ekiti State Government has dedicated ₦1 billion towards enhancing food production, specifically focusing on land preparation through the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security’s tractorisation subsidy scheme. Additionally, they have implemented an input supply program to assist small-scale farmers. Governor Dauda Lawal of Zamfara state recently welcomed Sweden Ambassador Annika Hahn-Englund to discuss strategies for bolstering the state’s economy, alleviating present challenges, fostering cooperation in key economic sectors, establishing lasting connections, and executing impactful projects that will positively impact the people of Zamfara State.

Ministry of Agriculture’s new initiative received support.

Speaking, Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, the chairman of NGF, expressed dissatisfaction with the outcomes of the Anchor Borrowers Programme initiated by the Central Bank of Nigeria. Emphasizing the importance of food security, he pointed out the need for a focused approach towards enhancing dry season farming practices. He urged the Minister of Agriculture to diligently strive towards achieving the government’s food goals, saying that adequately providing for the Nigerian population is paramount. He also mentioned that state governors would cooperate with the ministry in this endeavor.

As the Minister of Agriculture announced a new initiative focusing on cassava, rice, and maize, we are eager to join this program and work quickly to boost our production and supply to the people of Nigeria, he commented. He described how the Governors had recognized the need for a new Minister of Agriculture due to the lack of productivity in the previous four years under the previous administration. The agriculture ministry’s responsibilities had been largely taken over by the CBN, leading to unfruitful visits to the ministry during that time. However, there has been a noticeable increase in involvement and commitment from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture in recent times.

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Abdulrazaq, who is the governor of Kwara state, pointed out that food prices in Nigeria are the lowest in West Africa. He mentioned that neighboring countries are taking advantage of this by using Nigeria’s food products for trade, specifically mentioning soya. Our focus should be on boosting production and maximizing our harvests per hectare in order to provide food for West Africa, ensure the nation is well-fed, and have surplus for export. It is crucial that we reach this goal, with state governments ready to bolster any subsidy provided by the federal government, he added.

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