Tuesday, 09 July 2024 04:45

FG approves food importation to address mass hunger

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At a press briefing yesterday, the Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Abubakar Kyari, unveiled a series of measures aimed at addressing the escalating food prices in Nigeria. These initiatives, set to be implemented over the next 180 days, are designed to stabilize the market and ensure food security for all Nigerians.

1. 150-Day Duty-Free Import Window for Food Commodities

   - The government will suspend duties, tariffs, and taxes for the importation of specific food commodities, including maize, husked brown rice, wheat, and cowpeas, through land and sea borders.

   - Imported food commodities will be subjected to a Recommended Retail Price (RRP) to control prices.

   - Minister Kyari assured citizens that all imported food would meet stringent safety standards, alleviating concerns about the genetic composition of the imported goods.

2. Government Importation of Wheat and Maize

   - The Federal Government will import 250,000 metric tons of wheat and 250,000 metric tons of maize.

   - These semi-processed commodities will be supplied to small-scale processors and millers across the country.

3. Guaranteed Minimum Price (GMP) and National Strategic Food Reserve

   - The government will engage stakeholders to establish a GMP and mop up surplus food commodities to restock the National Strategic Food Reserve.

4. Ramp-Up Production for the 2024/2025 Farming Cycle

   - Sustained support to smallholder farmers for wet season farming through existing initiatives.

   - Strengthening and accelerating dry season farming nationwide.

   - Aggressive agricultural mechanization to reduce production costs and boost productivity.

   - Collaboration with sub-national entities to identify and increase irrigable land.

   - Working with the Federal Ministry of Water Resources and Sanitation to rehabilitate and maintain irrigation facilities.

   - Strategic engagement with youth and women for immediate greenhouse cultivation of horticultural crops like tomatoes and peppers.

   - Fast-tracking engagement with the Nigerian Military for rapid cultivation of arable lands under the Defence Farms Scheme and encouraging other para-military establishments to utilize available lands for cultivation.

5. Renewed Hope National Livestock Transformation Implementation Committee

   - Set to be inaugurated on July 9, 2024, this committee will develop and implement policies prioritizing livestock development in alignment with the National Livestock Transformation Plan.

6. Enhancement of Nutrition Security

   - Promoting the production of fortified food commodities.

   - Supporting the scaling up of the Home Garden Initiative by the Office of The First Lady.

Over the next 14 days, the government will collaborate with the Presidential Food Systems Coordinating Unit (PFSCU) and the Economic Management Team (EMT) to finalize implementation frameworks. Information will be made publicly available to ensure stakeholder participation. The PFSCU will manage a dashboard for the President, providing direct visibility into these interventions to ensure accountability.

Kyari emphasized that the success of these measures depends on the cooperation of all relevant MDAs and stakeholders. "As our nation confronts a critical food security challenge, let me reiterate Mr. President’s unwavering commitment to attaining food security and ensuring that no Nigerian goes to bed hungry. My team and I will swiftly and diligently actualize these crucial policies to ensure food security for everyone in the country in the immediate term while continuing our strategies for long-term interventions to address underlying causes and ensure sustainable and resilient food systems."

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