Calls inauguration of 15-man ‘Special Task Force’ on food security

By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja

As starvation sets in parts of the country, the All Farmers Association of Nigeria, AFAN, Wednesday, expressed concern over depleted food production level in Nigeria.

Speaking with Vanguard on the precarious situation and dangerous dimension food production has assumed across the country, the National President, AFAN, Arc Kabir Ibrahim, said there is urgent need President Muhammadu Buhari inaugurate a ‘Special Task Force’on food production to mitigate the worrisome situation Nigerians find themselves.

Ibrahim lamented that Nigerians have been thrown into real food crisis ranging from high food prices to bloody insecurity situation, which farmers have fled their farms, and coupled with downward trend of the Naira, which has triggered hyper inflation, and as a result farm inputs have become unaffordable and inaccessible by farmers.

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However, he pointed that the last seven years on the Buhari-led administration, the agricultural sector has witnessed the evolution of the Agriculture Promotion Policy, APP, the CBN Anchor Borrower Program(ABR), National Agricultural Lands Development Authority, NALDA, Integrated Farms, including several windows of credit, social safety nets,Medium Term Development Plan 2021-2025, signing up to AfCTA, interventions by AfDB, Development partners and heavy investments by the private sector “but food sufficiency and the much desired food security  is still a mirage.”

He also stated that the COVID-19 pandemic, lack of synergy between stakeholders in the Agriculture space, institutional malfunction around the relevant ministries and parastatals as well as highly inadequate policy implementation certainly contributed to the current weak food system in Nigeria but top most among these shocks is the spate of insecurity in almost all the nooks and crannies of the country.

He said: “There is a nexus between insecurity and food security that requires very close interrogation before the exit of the Buhari Administration otherwise the problem of skyrocketing prices of food items will make Nigeria extremely difficult to govern.

“The issue of banditry and kidnapping should be addressed through
non-kinetic means because it is obvious that the kinetic approach is not yielding very good results.

“The traditional, religious leaders and farmers should be part of a special task force under the direct control of the food security council with a lot of latitude to bring about a lasting solution to the insecurity situation hindering the farmers from seamlessly accessing their farms to produce sufficiently and sustainably to feed the nearly 200 million hungry mouths in Nigeria today.

“The special purpose vehicle or TASK FORCE should comprise the following organizations and security agencies: The National Security Adviser(NSA); The DG, National Intelligence Agency(NIA); The Heads of the Army,Air Force and Navy; The Civil Defence Services; The DSS; The Police; Miyetti Allah; The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development; All Farmers Association of Nigeria, AFAN; The Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy; The National Assembly; The Judiciary; The President of Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN; The Sultan; and Youth and Women leaders.”

Meanwhile, the AFAN boss called on President Buhari to inaugurate the task force within a timeline of 12 weeks.

“The President should inaugurate this task force and charge it to come up with tangible results within a timeline of 12 weeks from the date of inauguration which should be within the third week of July, 2022”, he stated.

He also expressed optimism that with the task force small holder farmers would bounce back to full scale food production within a short time.

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