Chairman, and Kwara State Governor, AbdulRahman Abdulrazaq, spoke in Abuja yesterday when he led his colleagues, Agbu Kefas (Taraba), Ahmed Ododo (Kogi), and Lucky Aiyedatiwa (Ondo), to a visit to minister of Agriculture and Food Security.
He noted neighbouring countries use Nigeria’s food to trade as they take Soya beans, among others, to get foreign exchange.
Abdulrazaq regretted that Nigeria could not achieve much with CBN Anchor Borrowers Programme, which he described as challenging.
While maintaining that the trading is not bad, he said what needs be done is to ramp up production and increase yield per hectare so Nigeria can feed West Africa.
He said: “We have noted that food in Nigeria is the cheapest in West Africa and our neighbours are using our food to trade. They are taking our soya beans and others to get foreign exchange…
“We need to ramp up production and increase yield so we can feed west Africa, ourselves and export food…
“We could not achieve much with CBN Anchor Borrowers programme it was challenging. Food security is a one stop shop and we need to concentrate on what we are on for dry season farming”.
Kyari had informed the governors the aim is to increase production all-year round with the objective of driving down food inflation, create jobs, reduce poverty, engender growth and promote inclusivity.
He said he has sent out Expression of Interests to governors and Federal Capital Territory (FCT), ahead of the second phase of dry season food production programme under National Agricultural Growth Scheme and Agro-Pocket (NASG-AP).
“We are putting behind us challenges encountered during the First Phase with Wheat in 15 states. After evaluation of some glitches that characterised that phase, and with stakeholders’ proposals, there will be additional guidelines for the Second Phase commencing soon…’’
“There is no question that if we get things right now, and without an iota of doubt with all hands on the plough, future programmes and projects will enable us more seamlessly achieve all-year-round agricultural production with beneficial consequences for Economic Empowerment, Inclusivity and ultimately wider opportunities for Value Addition, Food and Nutrition Security as well as Industrialization.
“The phase we are about to get into is particularly crucial because, unlike the phase one for Wheat Production, which involved only 15 States, the second phase will cover the entire country. We will therefore, like you to use the instrumentality of your offices as Governors to ensure the readiness of your respective States for optimal participation in this second phase for the cultivation of rice, maize, and cassava”.