President Bola Tinubu has declared a state of emergency on food security.
Briefing newsmen on the declaration, the Special Adviser to the President on Special Duties, Communications, and Strategy, Mr. Dele Alake, said the aim was to promote agro-business, and ensure availability and affordability of produce.
One of the immediate results of the fuel subsidy removal was the high cost of food items and their value chains.
Considering the fact that food and water are most essential to life after air, the President has now included matters partaking to their availability and affordability within the purview of the National Security Council, as explained by Mr. Dele Alake.
“As a direct and immediate response to this crisis, a number of initiatives will be deployed in the coming weeks to reverse this inflationary trend and guarantee future uninterrupted supplies of affordable foods to ordinary Nigerians.
“In the immediate term, we intend to deploy some savings from the fuel subsidy removal into the Agricultural sector focusing on revamping the agricultural sector”, he explained.
He therefore said as an immediate intervention, fertilizer and grains would be distributed to farmers and households free of charge.
Mr. Alake said to encourage all-year-round agriculture activities, Ministries of Agriculture and Water Resources would work together to ensure adequate irrigation of farmlands.
“We shall create and support a National Commodity Board that will review and continuously assess food prices as well as maintain a strategic food reserve that will be used as a price stabilisation mechanism for critical grains and other food items.
“We will engage our security architecture to protect the farms and the farmers so that farmers can return to the farmlands without fear of attacks.
“The Central Bank will continue to play a major role of funding the agricultural value chain”, Mr. Alake added.
He said the administration would collaborate with mechanisation companies to clear more forests for farming, deploy concessionary capital to the agriculture sector, and beat down freight charges.
“Cost of transporting agricultural products has been a major challenge, due to permits, toll gates, and other associated costs. The government will explore other means of transportation, including rail and water transport to reduce freight costs and in turn impact the food prices”, he said.
Also to be effected is the establishment of ranches in States, where the Federal Government would buy land to discourage open grazing, which will in turn prevent farmer-herder clashes, and promote healthy animal husbandry.