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Governor Amosun tasks FG on food security

By on July 12, 2013

Governor Ibikunle Amosun, has urged the Federal Government to continue to evolve policies that will ensure food security in the country.

Speaking in Abeokuta last week at the 40th meeting of the National Council on Agriculture and Rural Development held in the state, the governor observed that the world’s population was growing at geometric progression with uncorrelated overall food production resulting in huge food supply gap.

He urged the Federal Government to develop policies and programmes to guarantee adequate and quality food supply.

Amosun said the state was willing to partner with the Federal Government and private investors on industrialisation.

Amosun described Ogun as a major industrial hub, adding that the state would maximise the various agricultural value chains from locally sourced raw materials to promote industrial development.

The governor said 20,000 hectares of land had been made available in the state for investors to cultivate crops that have market advantage.

“Ogun State is ready for business, we are ready to partner on the agricultural value chains, we are hungry for development,” he said.

Also speaking at the event, the Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina disclosed that with the Agriculture Transformation Agenda of the government, nine million metric tonnes of food has been added in first year including rainy season and dry season activities.

The addition, he said, represents 80 per cent above 5 million metric tonne food target in 2012 and 45 per cent of its total target of 20 million MT for 2015.

The Minister said Nigeria can no longer continue to be a sleeping giant. “We have to wake up and turn Nigeria into a global powerhouse in agriculture,” he said.

Adesina said the government is implementing a time-bound aggressive plan to unlock Nigeria’s potential to become an agricultural powerhouse.

“Yearly, Nigeria imports over 11 billion U.S. dollars worth of wheat, rice, sugar and fish. However, Nigeria is importing what it can produce in abundance; this import dependency is hurting Nigerian farmers, displacing local production and creating unemployment.

He explained that the vision of government is to make Nigeria an agricultural and industrialised economy, using a government-enabled private sector-driven approach,” he said.

Speaking on what the ministry has done on rice; Adesina explained that though rice grows well in all the six geo-political zones of Nigeria, the demand for parboiled, polished long grain, stone free and odorless rice by the urban dwellers has fueled the demand for imported rice.

“Total demand for rice in Nigeria is put at about 5.2 million MT a year out of which about 3.3 million MT are produced locally. The drain on foreign exchange has increased the need for self sufficiency in the sub sector.

In the last year, Adesina said the country has produced 690,000 MT in the main season and 1.1 million MT during the dry season, the first time in Nigeria’s history.

He said the goal of Rice Transformation Agenda is self sufficiency in rice and complete substitution of imported rice by year 2015, adding that with the policy put in place rice production level has increased from current 3.3 million MT to six million MT per year so as to remove the shortfall between demand and supply by year 2015.

Adesina disclosed that in the current year, for first time ever, the ministry launched Dry Season farming of rice to take advantage of irrigation capacity in the North of Nigeria.

“First time ever, Federal Government provided massive support for dry season rice cultivation in 10 states; 267,491 farmers received 50kg seeds, two bags of 15-15 NPK and one bag Urea. This, according to him, has added an additional 1,070,364 MT of food in 2013. This is one-third of total paddy needed to be self-sufficient by 2015.”