By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
The lawmaker representing Funtua/Dandume Federal Constituency and Chairman House Committee on Agricultural Production and Services, Hon. Muntari Dandutse Mohammad has called for special attention on prioritizing 2022 budgetary allocation for the agricultural sector to boost food security and create employment for young people
Mohammed made the call while speaking with journalists after a ‘Roundtable Discussion with Stakeholders on Agro-preneur success, Food safety stakeholders Forum and Award Citation / Presentation’ as part of activities to mark 2021 World Food Day Ceremony with theme ‘Our actions are our future, Better production, Better nutrition, a Better environment and a Better life’, held in Abuja.
However, according to him there is significant improvement in agric production and services with the Buhari-led administration banning importation of agricultural produce, and by extension a lot of engagements were made, and smallholder farmers were made to go to farm to feed the nation for the nation to attain food security status.
He further stated that as a lawmaker along with his colleagues they came out to support the sector, and also government came up with agric interventions across the country.
He said: “The World Food Programme is very significant following the massive attendance of various stakeholders with food safety being analysed across the world.
“Critical stakeholders made a whole lot of presentations and way forward was also established in order to export agricultural products to other parts of the world so we can be one of the competitive nations.
“And as a country our food is to be recognized internationally and also to enhance safety of food without any disease infestation but good price on it, and it is a way forward.
“In actual sense we need to do more on budgetary allocation on agriculture because if you look at the teeming number of unemployed youths and even the interventions made, some are not reaching the farmers because of ‘political farmers’ who are not into real farming activities rather monopolise these interventions that are coming. So there is need to have a concerted effort in that regard.
“The budget for agriculture is more needed than some other budgets as far as food security is concerned because anybody who is hungry will be angry, and that is why we need to engage more of our youths along different value chains in the agricultural sector, and I believe it is the way to go.
“As a lawmaker, we are ready to support he government with all the laws that will promote food security that would help the country.”
Speaking on the precarious security situation across the country, he said, “This issue of security is key because all these agricultural programmes and policies would not be effective because of its strategic importance across sectors of the economy.
“We want the security agencies to do more to ensure they have a coordinated operation to make sure they chase out criminal elements out and bring them to book.
“As lawmakers we are going to engage the Federal Ministry of Agriculture to enhance food safety and security of this country.”
However, he called for media collaboration for effective reportage on activities in the agricultural space in order to ensure government policies and programmes for smallholder farmers and youth employment in the agricultural sector are known and passed across to all states in the country, and that it will go a long way to boost the economy as more people through the information and knowledge they have will come into the sector.
“The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture should remain focused to enhance food security of this country, and I think it is the way to go”, he added.