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Food security: Farmers seek resuscitation of reserve agency

Following Nigeria’s quest to achieve national food sufficiency and drive over 50 per cent of its foreign exchange on agricultural exports, Nigerian farmers have suggested that President Muhammad Buhari should resuscitate the abandoned National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) domiciled in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD).

The farmers under the auspice of All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) noted that the resuscitation of NFRA is strategically important in the country’s bid to attain food sufficiency at a period Nigeria has been projected to be the third most populous country in the world with a population of 400,000,000 by 2050. Ideally, this situation will make the quest for food urgent for Nigeria and its populace. National President of AFAN, Kabir Ibrahim, disclosed this to New Telegraph in an interview, saying that in 2008, NFRA was created as a parastatal of FMARD with the mandate to drive the national food security programme in Nigeria upon the recommendation of CADP-NEPAD (Commercial Agricultural Development Project – New Partnership for Africa’s Development), which came about as a result of the buy-in of African Heads of States in 2001 in the Moputo Declaration, specifically, in compliance with four pillars: Production, Processing, Storage and Marketing.

However, Ibrahim pointed out that NFRA was untimely winded up in 201 after its five departments in FMARD were given specific timelines and attaining far reaching milestones, regardless of its potentialities of ensuring food production, processing, marketing and storage as well as food price stabilisation. According to him, Mr. President’s directive to resuscitate NFRA will surely reinvigorate the food system and accelerate the attainment of food security in Nigeria. In addition, he added that the obvious deliverables in the resuscitation of NFRA would also facilitate the Guaranteed Minimum Price (GMP), which will enhance agribusiness, especially against the backdrop of Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement that will bring about a sustainable foreign exchange income to Nigeria and Nigerian farmers going forward. Speaking on NFRA, the AFAN’s national president said: “In 2008, NFRA was created as a parastatal of the FMARD with the mandate to drive the National Food Security Programme in Nigeria upon the recommendation of CADP-NEPAD (Commercial Agricultural Development Project – New Partnership for Africa’s Development) which came about as a result of the buy-in of African Heads of States in 2001 in the Moputo Declaration, specifically, in compliance with four pillars: Production, Processing, Storage and Marketing.

“The need for the attainment of Food sufficiency by the same token in all African countries, in anticipation of the exponential rise in Africa’s population which will see Nigeria as the third most populous country in the world with a population of 400,000,000 by 2050 and this situation will make the quest for food almost existential for Nigeria and by implication all of Africa as Nigeria is the giant of Africa.” He added that the vision of NFRA was to ensure sustainable access, availability and affordability of quality food to all Nigerians and for Nigeria to become a significant net provider of food to the global community. Also, according to him, its mission was to significantly improve Nigeria’s agricultural productivity to expand and improve large scale production, storage/processing capacity as well as required infrastructure to achieve food stability.

 

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