Today’s session is taking place at a time when there is a heightened global concern around Food Supply systems, that directly impacts food production and the ability to store and hold for periods of unavailability.
As stated by the Food and Agricultural Organization – Food Security is dimensioned into 4 elements:
- Physical availability of food,
- Economic and physical access to food;
- Food Utilization; and
- The stability of the three previously mentioned elements over a sustained period.
It is for this very reason, that the quest for food security still remains at the forefront of this Government’s agenda.
This journey comes with its pains and challenges, but we must not give up.
As mentioned previously, events of the last six months have further demonstrated the vulnerabilities of food systems around the world to global shocks and this underscores the need for more effort.
The Coronavirus pandemic has illustrated more than any event in recent history how countries must strive harder to protect food systems. It has also exposed the limits of dependency on other countries.
In the last 5 years, we have recorded notable achievements. Despite the decline in GDP by 6.1% in Q2 of 2020 as a direct result of coronavirus, the agricultural sector continued to grow because of the Government’s targeted agricultural policies.
We have been blessed by God with six successive rainy seasons ensuring good harvests since 2015. The nation thanks to our farmers for rising to the occasion and answering a national call.
I am pleased to note that most Nigerians are taking advantage of the opportunities in the agriculture and agri-business sector. I want to assure you that this Government will continue to support these initiatives and many more to come.
I am also mandating that while our key actors in the Agric space are championing increased hectares under cultivation, we need to pivot our attention and resources to how we can improve yield per hectare. This new shift will be a significant boost in our determination to strengthen our objective in achieving food security.
To protect agricultural investments and boost confidence to our farmers we have deployed thousands of Agro-Rangers and integrated rural communities to the formal economy by extending access to credit and inputs to rural farmers and building feeder roads.
We have invested in building our strategic grain reserves in recent years while we recently released significant quantities to cushion the adverse impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to vulnerable households and industries.
Unfortunately, the recent floods have adversely impacted our preparations. Lives were lost and livelihoods were wiped away. My condolences and sympathies go to the victims and their families.
As a Government, we will do all it takes to support those impacted by this disaster. Already, we are working to ensure the losses from this wet season are replaced in the coming dry planting season.
Listening to all the presentations today, I am pleased with the success recorded. I have taken note of the challenges you mentioned and look forward to receiving your formal written submissions in the coming days.
Thank you and God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.