Contrary to reports of a looming food scarcity and hunger in the coming year, the Federal Government has assured Nigerians that there will be food surplus in 2017.
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh, who gave the assurances at an interactive session with journalists in Abuja on Wednesday, said that the government has put mechanisms in place to ensure food security in the country.
Ogbeh disclosed that the Federal Government had resorted to buying- back of assorted grains under the Guarantee Minimum Price Programme for restocking of strategic silo complexes which he said are 33 in number with a total capacity of 2.5 million tons of grains.
According to him, farmers in some states had already started planting for the dry season, to ensure adequate food security across the country.
He explained that the government is working towards making farming an all-year round business by creating dams and lakes in every part of the country to support irrigation system.
“Nigerians have no reason to panic, we have made arrangement for some states to start planting so that we have second crops by April” he said.
Ogbeh disclosed that Nigeria had signed an agreement with the government of Morocco on fertilizer production which would yield one million tons of fertilizer through local production in order to boost food production in the country.
He was upbeat that the introduction of soil-specific fertilizer application developed by the Agric Ministry would go a long way in increasing high crop yield in the country.
He revealed that 30,000 slots allocated to the Ministry under the N- power scheme of the Federal Government would be trained through the Agricultural Development Programmes (ADPs) as Agric. extension workers who will serve in their respective local government areas.
The Minister pointed out that the Ministry had acquired 110 various capacities of rice mills of 10 tons, 20 tons, 50 tons and 100 tons per day for distribution to cluster farmers to boost rice production and milling capacity in the country as a way of attaining food sufficiency.
He revealed that Nigerian farmers now have access to grains from Namibia and other countries which according to him has created a good market for their farm produce.