Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has said his administration’s promotion of self-sufficiency over the years has helped significantly in averting a food crisis, despite the COVID-19 pandemic testing the level of preparedness of countries to the shocks of food insecurity.
The President made the remark on Thursday at the National Food Security Council meeting held at State House, Abuja.
According to a statement by Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, Mr Buhari noted that there was need for more effort to increase food production and self-sufficiency, assuring that the Federal Government will continue to promote policies that favour investments in the agricultural sector.
‘The coronavirus pandemic has illustrated more than any event in recent history how countries must strive harder to protect food systems. It has also exposed the limits of dependency on other countries.
‘In the last five years we have recorded notable achievements. Despite the decline in GDP by 6.1 per cent in Q2 of 2020 as a direct result of coronavirus, the agricultural sector continued to grow because of government targeted policies,’ he said.
President Buhari, who commended Nigerian farmers for contributing to food security, said the favourable rainy seasons should serve as encouragement for many to take up farming as a vocation.
‘I am pleased to note that most Nigerians are taking advantage of the opportunities in the agriculture and agric-business sector. I want to assure you that this government will continue to support these initiatives and many more to come.’
He indicated that efforts will be channeled to innovative farming methods that will guarantee maximum output.
‘To protect agricultural investments and boost confidence to our farmers we have deployed thousands of agro-rangers and integrated rural communities to the formal economy by extending access to credit and inputs to rural farmers and building feeder roads.
‘We have invested in building our strategic grain reserves in recent years which we recently released significant quantities to cushion the adverse impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to vulnerable households and industries.’
President Buhari sympathised with farmers and families who have lost loved ones to recent floods in the country, assuring that the Federal Government will support those that are affected.