Nigeria will feed its population in next 12 years, says Lokpobiri.
· Decries herders, farmers crisis
The Federal Government yesterday assured that Nigeria is poised to feed itself in the next 12 years if the ongoing tempo in the agricultural sector is sustained.
Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Heineken Lokpobiri, made the assurance yesterday in Abuja at a symposium to mark the 2018 World Food Day in Abuja.
Citing the theme of the day: Our Actions Are Our Future: A Zero Hunger World By 2030 Is Possible, he said, “I pledged the commitment that in the next 12 years, Nigeria will join the League of Nations that would be able to feed their peoples and the world.”
He lamented that if the country does not achieve the zero hunger target, there might be a situation where people will be eating and hungry citizens will snatch food from them forcefully.
Lokpobiri further expressed concern that herdsmen and farmers crises in parts of the country may hinder the government’s resolve to achieve food sufficiency.
“Prolonged crisis, especially in the Northeast and other parts of the country that have experienced incessant clashes between herdsmen and farmers is also an issue of concern,” he stated.
He added that Nigeria should take advantage of its rapidly growing population to invest seriously in agriculture and that the private sector should take the lead in the project, while the government provides the enabling environment because the government has proved to be a bad business manager.
Lokpobiri maintained that the state governments should demonstrate seriousness in agriculture by committing at least five percent of their budgets to agriculture, stressing that this way the country would be able to upscale the agricultural production.
Commending the efforts of some states like Kebbi, Ebonyi, Zamfara and Ogun, among others in agriculture, he urged other states of the federation to emulate the same examples because collectively Nigeria will achieve the set target.
Country Representative of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in Nigeria, Suffyan Koroma, stated that over the past forty years, FAO has been working closely with Nigeria to advance sustainable agriculture and food systems with great optimism towards achieving zero Hunger in the country.
He appreciated government’s continued commitment in forging strong partnerships for nourishing, nurturing and growing a prosperous and peaceful Nigeria where all Nigerians thrive and contribute to its socio-economic development.