Abubakar Kyari, Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, has hinted at plans to commence the second phase of the dry/wet season farming intervention to boost the availability of food crops in the country.
The Minister who disclosed this in Abuja during a courtesy visit by the Executive Governor of Jigawa State, Umar Namadi to his office, stated that efforts were ongoing in line with President Tinubu’s mandate of ensuring food security.
“Our program is to ensure massive production of food so that food is available in line with Mr president’s agenda of food security. We want to massively produce so that we bring down food inflation. Because today, the number one driver of inflation is the food inflation.
“So Mr president has given us the support that we need to ramp up production and with the rice for instance, we have started already, rice should available and in the next three weeks everything should be in place.
” The Ministry is focused on ramping up massive production of staple crops using technology and mechanization to achieve the goal.,” he said.
Speaking on the high cost of food, especially rice which is one of Nigeria’s staple foods, Kyari said that the market forces- supply and demand were the major factors influencing the hike in price.
The minister, who recalled the official flag-off of the 2023/2024 dry season farming in November 2023, said that the issues including round-tripping in connivance with agro-dealers and poor validation of farmers have been identified as factors that could impede food production in Nigeria if not addressed.
“As we look forward, it is imperative for us to tackle some of the challenges observed and ensure that they do not impede our agricultural development agenda. These challenges include reported cases of round-tripping in connivance with agro-dealers and poor validation of farmers’ data in parts of the participating states.
“The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security is fully committed to addressing the issues of round-tripping and poor validation of farmers’ data. We are dedicated to implementing stringent measures in the forthcoming dry/wet season farming for rice, maize, and cassava, to ensure transparent distribution and target genuine farmers.
“Collaboration with states, local governments, traditional rulers, NGOs, and relevant MDAs will be crucial in achieving the desired objectives,” he said.
In his remarks, Umar Namadi, the executive governor of Jigawa State, commended the federal government for the support given to the state which enabled it to cultivate over 36,000 hectares during the wheat dry season farming.
Speaking of the challenges earlier mentioned by the minister, Namadi stated that efforts were ongoing to update the farmers’ register in the state. “By the time we commence the rice dry season farming, we will have a completed database for rice farmers. Also, the certificates to be issued to farmers will show their passport photographs hs, the location of the farmland. to ensure that farmers in the State are properly guided.”
He also announced that the state has engaged over 1,400 extension workers to guide the activities of farmers.