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FG assures of adequate food supply despite ravaging floods

…Says there will be no food shortage in Nigeria

By Palma Ileye

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, FMARD, Dr Muhammad Mahmood Abubakar has reaffirmed that agriculture, food and nutrition security has remained core priorities of Government adding that improving infrastructure, research, access to insurance and credit as well as creating enabling environment for development of commodity value chains, assurance of increased wholesome food production, employment, wealth creation and agri-business in the country was imperative.

Speaking during a press briefing held yesterday at the Ministry’s Headquarters in Abuja, Abubakar noted that agriculture was an integral part of the land space and its activities were prone to occasional adverse effects of naturally occurring or human- made disasters.

Thus, he said, “an agricultural endowed and climate change vulnerable nation like Nigeria must anticipate and managed risks including flooding, bush-burning, erosion, land degradation, pest and disease outbreaks as well as desertification.”

He disclosed that the devastating impact, damage and loss of lives and property due to flood was now becoming an annual event in many parts of Nigeria and flooding often results in loss of soil fertility, agricultural commodities such as crops, livestock and fisheries and means of livelihoods.

He said that to guide its interventions, the Ministry in collaboration with relevant MDAs have carried out 2022 wet season Agricultural Performance Survey of the country to provide empirical data as to support the amelioration of the adverse effects of floods and ensure increased food production in Nigeria.

He said: “Immediate, Short- and Medium-Term Measures to Address the Impact of the Current Flood Disaster, the following interventions are being implemented by FMARD and partners to mitigate the anticipated disruptions of food production and supply occasioned by floods.

“Conduct of an immediate Needs Assessment of affected Communities and farmlands in all the affected States based on available Remote Sensing report on 2022 flooding.

“Distribution of assorted food commodities from the Federal Government Strategic Food Reserve to the vulnerable and flood victims through the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.

“Distribution of early maturing seeds (wheat, rice, maize, sorghum, cassava cuttings), fertilizers, agro-chemicals and agro-equipment to affected crop farmers across the country.

“Distribution of subsidized agricultural inputs (Fertilizers, Certified Seeds and Agro-Chemicals) to affected wheat, rice and maize farmers for dry season farming under Agricultural Transformation Agenda Phase 1 and Public Based Operations, PBO, across the 36 states and FCT using the redesigned National Agricultural Growth Scheme and Agro-Pocket Technology delivery platform to address flood and emerging food security challenges.

“Capacity building and distribution of improved pasture seeds and bio-fertilizer for reseeding of pasture fields affected by flood.

“Distribution of brooded broilers for restocking of affected smallholder poultry farms.

“Deploy ongoing mass vaccination of animals to prevent incidents of disease outbreaks that usually occur after flood disasters.

“Distribution of fingerlings, juveniles and other fishing and fishery equipment to fishermen and fisher folks as well as re-stocking of Lakes, Dams and Reservoirs affected by flood with juveniles and fingerlings for post flooding fish production.

“Promotion of elevated climate smart livestock housing to mitigate the impact of flooding on livestock enterprises.

“De-silting of existing micro earth dams and water harvesting structures to accommodate more water for livestock use and dry season farming.

“Deployment of micro irrigation kits and water pumps to flood prone areas for flood recession Agriculture and dry season farming.
Conduct of Soil Survey and Soil Fertility analysis on flooded agricultural land, Geo – referencing of all prone and flooded agricultural land, as well as Erosion Control on Degraded Agricultural land as a result of flooding.

The Agric Minister also stated the collaboration with Nigerian Meteorological Agency, NIMET, was to strengthen existing early warning system through anticipatory action programs to empower communities before incidence of flood with a view to building their capacity and enhancing their resilience.

This he said will ameliorate and improve food security and reduced losses to the farmers.

“This, was to enable the development of a Flood Mitigation and Resilient Plan for the Country to reduce the impact of the annual floods,” he stated.

He explained that there was also the collaboration with Nigerian Agricultural Insurance Cooperation, NAIC, to sensitize farmers on the importance of insuring their farms against possible disasters such as floods, fire and drought.

He pointed out some of the Ongoing-Activities in collaboration with relevant agencies of Government and to increase food production in the country to include:

“The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is collaborating with the Federal Ministry of Interior to improve security on farms through the deployment of Agro-Rangers across the country.

“Approval of 5 years tax break as an incentive to encourage private investments in the agricultural sector and increased food production, processing and marketing.

“Restocking of the Strategic Food Reserve with 200,000MT of assorted food commodities.

“Construction and rehabilitation of Mini-Earth Dams and Water Harvesting Structures to store excess rain water for dry season farming and fisheries in the front-line states. This will increase water availability for domestic and Agricultural use, reduce the negative impact of climate change, mitigate farmers-harder’s conflicts and increase food production in the country.

“Engagement in land preparation in collaboration with the State and Local Governments to open more land and take advantage of residual moisture for dry season farming.

“Intensification of training and deployment of Extension Agents, EAs, in the 36 States and FCT to provide advisory services on the use of hydroponics, water management and other Good Agricultural Practices to increase food production.

“Distribution of mobile multipurpose grain dryers to cluster farmers to reduce post-harvest losses in the 774 LGAs in Nigeria.

“Capacity building and distribution of pasture seeds, bio-fertilizer, harvester, choppers and other pasture and feed processing equipment to pasture farmers and pastoralists to increase pasture and feed production and processing.

“Provision of livestock production facilities (pasture fields, water facilities, animal handling and feed processing hubs) and training of pastoralists within grazing reserves to adopt Good Animal Husbandry Practices for increased production and reduction in crop farmer and herder conflicts.

“Improvement of genetic potentials of our indigenous Livestock breeds for increased production, yield and subsequent reduction in importation of livestock products

“Capacity building, rehabilitation and distribution of milk bulking and processing centers and equipment to increase domestic milk collection and utilization.

“Active animal disease surveillance of Transboundary and Zoonotic Animal Diseases.

“Provision of pest control services to forestall infestation of transboundary pests and ensure increased food production.

“Distribution of agro-processing equipment across the agricultural value chains for value addition, income generation, prevention of post-harvest losses for food security.

“Completion of ten (10) integrated rice mills nationwide to boost rice processing in the country.

“Establishment of Agri-business Incubation Centres in Federal Universities across the country for increased training and research development.

“Construction of Agro-industrial Estates for wealth creation, employment generation and prevention of post-harvest losses, promotion of aquaculture and distribution of fish smoking kiln to increase fish production and reduce post-harvest losses.

“Capacity building, promotion and development of organic fertilizers using local eco-friendly agricultural technologies across the country, training and deployment of Fertilizer and Agrochemical Quality Control Inspectors to ensure production and marketing of quality fertilizers and enforcement of the National Fertilizer Quality Control Act and Regulations

“Establishment of agro-input selling points across the country to increase availability and access of farmers to agricultural inputs.

“Promotion of private investment in the establishment of wet blend compound NPK fertilizer to assure access to quality fertilizers across the country.

“Provision of rural access roads, infrastructure and ancillaries across the country to facilitate rural development, increased food production and movement of agricultural products to markets

“Support from International Partners, Donor Agencies and collaborators for emergency food production and mitigation of the Impact of Flood Disaster in Nigeria. Food and Agriculture Organization, FAO and other Development partners have always partnered with FMARD to provide support.

“The African Development Bank, AfDB, – Provision of $244m for emergency food production. International Fund for Agricultural Development, IFAD, – Provision of $5m through the Value Chain Development Programme, VCDP, for inputs to improve food Production and Livelihoods.”

He also said that agricultural development in Nigeria was fast transiting from majorly subsistence to commercial agriculture sufficiently modern to attract youths and other investors adding that the improvement in the sector was attributed to the synergy between the public sector, the private sector and development partners, which should be sustained to continually grow agriculture, diversify the economy and empower Nigerians.

He further stated that the Ministry was working assiduously and harmoniously with a wide range of stakeholders to explore the window of domestic and foreign collaborations and investments in the nation’s development process of attaining food and nutrition self-sufficiency, enterprise promotion, employment generation and wealth creation.

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