Following the country’s food inflation caused by COVID-19, insecurity and other challenges, Nigerian farmers under the umbrella of All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), have urged the Federal Government to build 100,000 metric tonnes silos in the six geo-political zones of the country to guarantee food security for Nigerian populace.
The farmers’ association’s move may not be unconnected with the report that Nigeria now has very little in the strategic reserve, having used up a good deal of it at the beginning of COVID-19, with the profound impact now being seen in acute food shortage, austerity and increasing food prices. The National President of AFAN, Kabir Ibrahim, in a chat with New Telegraph, explained that it was time for the government of President Muhammadu Buhari to parley with agric stakeholders to outline agric agenda to salvage the precarious situation. According to him, the Federal Government should ensure that the 100,000mt silos are managed by the Strategic Grains Reserve (SGR) and to be directly supervised by the Food Security Council (FSC). Ibrahim stated that the availability of food was the utmost thing confronting the country at the moment.
He, therefore, canvassed that government must rise up to the occasion towards providing adequate food for its citizens. The AFAN national president also stated that President Buhari’s government needed to resuscitate the guaranteed minimum price and implement it via a special committee through the Strategic Grains Reserve to be directly supervised by the Food Security Council. He noted that this could be achieved by creating a special revolving fund for the GMP for 2021 and 2022. Speaking further, the renowned farmer explained that there was also need for government to harmonise all the initiatives in the agriculture space under the supervision of the Food Security Council via an emergency arrangement. In addition, he suggested to government to appoint a Special Adviser on Food Security, who knows what to do at this period aside the country’s agric minister, to address the issue of food shortage in the country. Also, Ibrahim noted that the administration should be decisive to promptly dispense with anyone who in any way fails to discharge their responsibilities under this arrangement for the threshold of the country’s agricultural development.
Speaking on stemming insecurity in the country, the AFAN national president adviced President Buhari to be decisive in opening all forests serving as safe haven to the bandits, by creating access, among others. “While these suggestions are not by any means exhaustive, we pray that they will be tried especially against the backdrop of the recent attack on NDA,” he noted. Reacting to what FMARD and AFAN are doing to stop famine in Nigeria, Ibrahim said: “The FMARD and AFAN can only encourage farmers to work assiduously to forestall insufficiency at this point. The harm of lack of renewed policy to replace the APP by the FMARD has already been done. “The synergy between AFAN and FMARD led by the Minister of Agriculture is at its lowest ebb and is a real threat to food sufficiency.”