JUST IN: How I Will Make Food Cheaper For Nigerians In Four Years — Minister

The Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Abubakar Kyari has highlighted policies to be deployed in the agricultural sector to make food cheaper for Nigerians in the next four years.

Kyari while speaking on Friday during a briefing stated that the policies are based on the president’s directive regarding food security….CONTINUE READING HERE

He said although existing policies in the sector need revaluation, there are immediate decisions that must be taken to curtail rising food insecurity in the country.

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He said, “The most pressing action we are currently handling is preparation for the next dry-season farming beginning from November 2023. This will be done through certification of available planting materials for some food security crops in readiness for dry-season farming; implementation of the dry-season wheat production starting in November 2023 and reviewing the mechanisms and processes for delivering fertilizers and agro pesticides input to farmers under a transparent and accountable regime.”

Highlighting policies that will drive agricultural development in the next four years, Kyari said it will be done in the short term, medium term, and long term.

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On the short–term priority actions from 2023 – 2024, he said the ministry will, “Make a significant investment in animal feed-crop, fodder, and pasture production as an antidote to the farmers and herders clashes by focusing the development of paddocks, foliage, and fodder estates equipped with necessary facilities for all year-round production.

“Strengthen agriculture and food security institutions and reposition them for the tasks ahead; reform the National Agricultural Research System to serve as the engine of growth for innovative solutions to strategic value chains, increase productivity -yields of our food security and export crops, livestock, and fisheries.

“Establish 2 new national gene bank facilities, each for crop and animal respectively to conserve our fast-eroding genetic resources for food security; fast-track the take-off and operations of the National Agricultural Development Fund and ICT tools will be deployed to support these platforms for the facilitation of e-extension services at scale.

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“Prepare a Joint Action Plan with the Federal Ministry of Water Resources to unlock the huge irrigation potentials of the River Basin Development Authorities and other flood plains in the country to guarantee all-year-round food production. It is on this note that the Ministry shall make strategic investments in renewable irrigation solutions like solar-powered irrigation pumps for small-holder farmers among others. “

On his medium term plans, the Minister stated that it would involve the development of digital/ICT Mobile-based Agro-industry System and E-extension platforms to support farmers through the establishment of the national centers in the 6 agro-ecological zones of Nigeria while the command-and-control office will be in Abuja.

He added, “Meat, dairy, eggs, fish, and other protein from animal sources will receive our special intervention to increase productivity target of the annual growth rate of 10 per cent year on year and Development of comprehensive soil fertility mapping and soil information system for food security.

“Development and implementation of the National Farmers Soil Health Card Scheme to increase productivity.

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“Using Fintech solutions, wallets shall be created for all financial disbursements to deliver directly to the targeted end users. Priority shall be given to the use of digital and DEFI solutions to reform the Bank of Agriculture and Nigerian Agricultural Insurance Corporation among others.’

In the long term, he said there will be the development of a national agricultural database for planning and implementation of agriculture and food security programs and initiatives.

“We are committed to working with relevant MDAs, private sector, and international development partners to co-create a functional digital transformation platform that will facilitate data-driven precision farming, climate resilience, and smart agricultural practices including e-extension services.

“We will unlock the job creation potentials of cold chain systems by encouraging private sector participation in community cold chain enterprises. The target is to incentivize the establishment of new food storage ventures across the country with direct and indirect new job creation,” he added….CONTINUE READING HERE

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