The Vice President of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo has called on State Governments to join hands with the Federal government to contribute to agricultural development, in order to achieve self sufficiency in food production.
Prof. Osinbajo, who made this call at the 4th National discourse, with the theme “Food security: Unleashing Nigeria’s Natural Potentials for Self Sufficiency’’, organised by The Companion, an association of Muslim Men in Business and the Professionals held at the University of Lagos, Akoka.
He said President Muhammadu Buhari has set a clear direction on self sufficiency and food production, when he said, ‘’Nigerians must produce what they eat and consume what they produce’’, which informed the decision of the federal government to set a substantial budgetary allocation to agriculture.
“The Anchor Borrowers Programme of the Federal Government has given credit totalling N120.6Billion to small scale farmers, where most of them had cultivated 12 different commodities such as rice, wheat, soya beans, poultry and others across the 36 States.
“The programme is now digitized and all farmlands involved are GPRS mapped, so we know where the farms are. Biometric data of the farmers were captured, electronic cards have been issued to every one of them and all the specific tools delivered were recorded, this has enhanced the traceability and enhanced productivity, so the farmers could be tracked”, he explained.
The Vice President added that government had launched the fertilizer programme to improve local blending capacity, in collaboration with the government of Morocco, noting that today, Nigeria has 11 fertilizer blending plants, with a total capacity of about 2.1m metric tonnes, this he said had reduced cost of 50kg bag of fertilizer from N13,000 to N6,000.
In his opening remarks, the Chairman of the event, who was a former Governor of Osun State, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, said the only way to address poverty was to encourage the youths to go into farming, as insecurity could be traced to hunger, which in turn breeds frustration and aggression, adding that it was easy to mobilise hungry people for rebellion and any form of criminal activities.
Aregbesola noted that the nation needed enhanced farming techniques, as well as creating an enabling environment for farmers to have access to loan.
In his presentation, the President of the Nigeria Academy of Engineering and Guest speaker at the occasion, Prof. Fola Lasisi, revealed that Nigeria had always considered herself as the giant of Africa, yet the people are hungry, poor and malnourished, saying food insecurity was a major issue of concern.
He said government must go back and use technology to create happiness for the people, calling on stakeholders to join hands with the government to empower the young ones to fight hunger ravaging in the land.
In her closing remarks, the Ogun State Deputy Governor, Engr. Noimot Salako-Oyedele, said the hosting of the event was a symbolic representation of the fact that professionals with the same religious beliefs could live up to the responsibility of spiritual upliftment of their members, while at the same time awaken them to their roles in nation building.
She added that Prince Dapo Abiodun led administration understood the importance of collective responsibility to nation building, hence the adoption of the mantra, “Building our Future Together”.
“Our administration is committed to the Agricultural sector. We appreciate the capacity of Agriculture as an avenue for massive employment generation and plans have reached advanced stage for a scheme in partnership with the Federal Government called the Out-Grower Scheme. Under the scheme, 10,000 of our youths will be provided with land, inputs, farming equipment and guaranteed buy back’’, she stated.