Mohammad Abubakar, minister of agriculture, says food production has not dropped “significantly” despite the current security challenges in the country.
Abubakar said this on Thursday in Abuja during the state house ministerial briefing.
He expressed dismay that attacks by herders and terrorists have denied some farmers the opportunity to go to their farms, especially in the north-west and north-central regions of the country.
However, he, maintained that food production has continued at a substantial level in most parts of the country.
“It is a concern for the government but if you notice, despite that, production has not dropped to any significant level,” the minister said.
“That is one of the reasons why we have an arrangement for security agents known as Agro-Rangers, who are providing some measures of security so that the farmers will be able to access their farms.
“Truly, if they cannot completely access farms all over the country, you will expect a drop in production but right now we are doing everything possible to make sure both production is maintained through that security provision.”
Abubakar also assured that the government was working hard to address the rising prices of food items in the country.
He said the current increase in food prices is not peculiar to Nigeria, adding that the emergence of COVID-19 and the ongoing war in Ukraine has aggravated the situation.
“When COVID came, it affected a lot of things including food production and the after effect of that is what we are still facing and that will lag for some time before it is stabilised. I believe the price of rice has dropped a little bit and we are still working on it,” he said.
“The whole world is currently reeling out of COVID and now battling the consequences of the war in Ukraine and Russia, but things will stabilise and the ministry of agriculture is doing everything possible in terms of addressing the problem; we are not relenting, so that the prices will come down faster.”
Abubakar further said that 3.6 million indirect jobs have been created through $1.1 billion worth of externally-funded agriculture projects being implemented by the present administration.
According to him, $538 million was approved by the African Development Bank (AfDB) for special agricultural processing zones to support inclusive and and sustainable agricultural development in Nigeria.
The minister also said another project worth $575 million is being implemented to improve rural access and agricultural marketing in participating states while strengthening the financing institutional base for effective development, maintenance and management of rural roads network.
He said the participating states include Akwa Ibom, Bauchi, Kano, Katsina, Kogi, Kwara, Kebbi, Ogun, Ondo, Oyo, Plateau and Sokoto.
Abubakar added that Nigeria remained focused on its plan of ending hunger by the year 2025.
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