President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday restated his administration’s commitment to sustain interventions in the nation’s agricultural sector to boost economic growth and create jobs for the unemployed in the country.
The President gave the assurance at the National Agricultural Show to mark this year’s World Food Day celebration held at National Agricultural Showground, Tudun Wada, Keffi, Nasarawa State.
Represented by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Muhammad Sabo Nanono, the President explained that the administration had put in place some interventions such as the Under Crop initiative and the Anchor Borrower’s Programme on rice to address the nation’s food security, create jobs reduce food importation bills and alleviate poverty.
President Buhari said, “The theme for this year’s World Food Day Celebration “Our actions are our future: Healthy Diets for #ZeroHunger World” is apt now that our diets and eating habits are drastically changing as a result of globalization, urbanization and income growth, as such, concerted efforts are required by all stakeholders to ensure healthy food systems for food security and nutrition.
“It is also a wakeup call for policy makers across every sector of the economy to ensure food security, accessibility through healthy and sustainable diets provision”, the President added.
He declared that efforts were also being made to increase supply of more farm inputs to farmers to boost their productivity and assured that the administration will continue to address the challenges of our growing population and declining revenue by promoting agribusiness, aiding economic livelihood and attaining food security in the country.
The President clarified further: “The matching of agro- processing companies with farmers out growers cooperative to ensure an off take value addition and grant income for chain Actors placed under the CBN Anchor Borrowers Scheme had commenced ‘’.
“Mechanized Agricultural Programme is being promoted to operate machinery hiring enterprise scheme under private operators to facilitate the manufacturing of durable farm equipment that can withstand the varying geographical terrain and climate of the country’’, he added.
The President urged relevant stakeholders to own the concept, scheme and strategies of deploying the commodity value chain towards promoting agribusiness in the country through the instrument of inclusiveness, transparency, prioritization, partnership and accountability.
This is even as he commended the efforts of the major stakeholders in the sector, including the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, National Agricultural Foundation of Nigeria (NAFN), OXFAM, Action Aid, and other development partners for their collaboration in organizing the World Food Day Exhibition.
In his remarks at the exhibition, the FAO Director-General, Qu Dong Yu, called on the Nigerian government to adopt policy, food standard and regulations that would prioritize the availability and affordability of safe and nutrition foods.
Dong Yu said: ‘’the latest data shows that malnutrition is increasing across all regions and income groups in Nigeria, the prevalence of overweight and obesity in adults keeps increasing and is currently at 7.8% in Nigeria and that ‘’one in three children is stunted and underweight also currently at 19.9%, which is higher than the globally accepted numbers. Overweight and obesity in adults are on the rise and 48.5% of women of reproductive age are anemic”, he added.
The FAO boss, who was represented by the Country Representative in Nigeria, Suffuyan Koroma, pointed out that “the theme for this year’s World Food Day, called for action to make healthy and sustainable diets accessible and affordable to everyone, and urged Nigerians to focus on promoting healthy lifestyles.