By; SUNDAY ODE, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday in Abuja said that the COVID-19 pandemic exposed the level of preparedness of nations to shock of food security, explaining that the Federal Government’s wisdom in promoting self-sufficiency over the years helped significantly in averting a food crisis.
Speaking at the National Food Security Council meeting held at the State House, President Buhari noted that there was need for more effort to increase food production and self-sufficiency, assuring that the Federal Government will continue to promote policies that favour investments in the agricultural sector.
“The coronavirus pandemic has illustrated more than any event in recent history how countries must strive harder to protect food systems. It has also exposed the limits of dependency on other countries.
“In the last five years we have recorded notable achievements. Despite the decline in GDP by 6.1 per cent in Q2 of 2020 as a direct result of coronavirus, the agricultural sector continued to grow because of government targeted policies.’’
A statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina noted that Buhari, who commended Nigerian farmers for contributing to the stability in food security, said the favourable rainy seasons should serve as encouragement for many to take up farming as a vocation.
“I am pleased to note that most Nigerians are taking advantage of the opportunities in the agriculture and agric-business sector. I want to assure you that this government will continue to support these initiatives and many more to come.’’
Accordingly to Adesina, the President also said efforts will be channeled to innovative ways of farming that will guarantee maximum output.
“To protect agricultural investments and boost confidence to our farmers we have deployed thousands of agro-rangers and integrated rural communities to the formal economy by extending access to credit and inputs to rural farmers and building feeder roads.“We have invested in building our strategic grain reserves in recent years which we recently released significant quantities to cushion the adverse impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to vulnerable households and industries,’’ the President said.
President Buhari sympathized with farmers and families that lost loved ones to recent floods in the country, assuring that the government will support those that were affected, the statement said.