President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday in Abuja inaugurated the National Food Security Council with a pledge to develop new programmes that would create more jobs in the agricultural sector.
Pledging that his administration would remain focused in securing the nation’s food requirements and employment for the people especially the youths, he added that the country’s exploitation of critical job-creating sectors, which had been ignored for decades, was beginning to yield results as his administration had introduced the National Social Investment Programme.
“We shall also develop new programmes and projects that will protect and indeed, create more jobs in farming, fisheries, animal husbandry and forestry. As we all know, land is used for farming, grazing and forestry, water is used for irrigation, livestock sustenance and fishing. Therefore, any strategy for land and water management must take into account the inter-connectivity of all these key sectors to ensure equity and sustainability.
“We will also not lose sight of the other issues that will impact our food production ambitions such as population growth, urbanisation, industrialisation, Rural Infrastructure Development and Climate Change. These factors will also stress and stretch our land and water resources. This means we must invest in research and development to enhance yields and outputs,” Buhari stressed.
He said his administration had launched agricultural programmes that focused on import substitution, job creation and rural development and brought socio-economic transformation to the millions of citizens living in some of the most remote rural parts of our country.
“We commenced the long term Pollution Remediation Projects in the Niger Delta with the hope of restoring dignity and normalcy to the millions of Nigerians impacted by decades of pollution in their communities. Fishing and farming will resume once blighted areas are rehabilitated.
“We intensified our participation in the Lake Chad Basin Commission with the goal of reversing the shrinkage of the lake, which impacts the livelihoods of over 45 million farmers, herdsmen and fishermen in the LCBC countries. We issued the first ever green bond that will act as a catalyst for investments in renewable energy and afforestation projects. This was oversubscribed, sharing market confidence in the country and our Government.
“We established the Agro Rangers Unit within the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps to protect the billions of naira of investments recorded in Nigeria’s agricultural sector across the country,” he emphasised.
Buhari stated that the Federal Government had continued to equip the Nigerian Navy and Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency to fight maritime criminals such as pirates and sea robbers who adversely impact offshore and inland fishing activities in the waters.
He expressed the hope that these programmes if sustained, would transform the lives of millions of Nigerians across the country.
“We are well aware that the full results will not be felt or seen overnight. The journey is long. It is therefore our collective duty to ensure the actual and potential positive impacts of these programs are sustained, improved and expanded,’’ he said.
According to him, a key mandate of the food security council is to continuously assess and enhance these infant but impactful programmes thereby guaranteeing they achieve their full potential.
Governor of Kebbi state, Bagudu Atiku, who would serve as the deputy chairman of the Council, highlighted some of the benefits of the council while aplauding the president for creating the council which, according to him, would address the nation’s food challenges.
Lagos state governor, Akinwumi Ambode also expressed the support of State Chief Executives to address food security challenges in the country.
The Minister of Trade and Investment, Mr Okechukwu Enelemah and the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Gabriel Olanishakin also spoke on strategies to surmount the challenges that were facing the nation’s agricultural sector.