Food shortage: Group advises agric ministry on irrigation

The Ugwumba Leadership Centre for Africa has advised the Federal Ministry of Agriculture to partner with the Ministry of Water Resources for enhanced and sustained irrigation of farmlands to boost food production.

Mr Uche Nwosu, the President of the centre, gave the advice in a statement on Friday in Abuja, following the Federal Government’s declaration of a state of emergency on food security.

The federal government on Thursday declared a state of emergency on food security and directed an immediate release of fertilisers and grains to farmers and households to mitigate the effects of the subsidy removal.⁣

Nwosu stated: “the recent declaration of a state of emergency on food security, pricing and sustainability by President Bola Tinubu is no doubt a welcome development.

“The President by this action has demonstrated his understanding and appreciation of the impact of the removal of fuel subsidy on Nigerians, especially on the economy of households.

“The current food inflation in the country has been a cause of concern to stakeholders; our hopes have, in most recent times, heightened that the administration would quickly find immediate, long lasting, and innovative solutions to the hardship experienced by citizens.

“But by prioritising urgent intervention through the declaration of a state of emergency in this area, Mr President has left no one in doubt that he is a “hands-on leader who follows developments across the country every day.”

“I urge for synergy between the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Water Resources to ensure adequate irrigation of farmlands and to guarantee that food is produced all-year round,’’ he said.

The executive director said that Nigeria needed a National Commodity Board to review and continuously assess food prices and maintain strategic food reserve.

He said that such a board would be used as a price stabilisation mechanism for critical grains and other food items.

He added that through the board, the government would moderate spikes and dips in food prices.

Nwosu commended President Tinubu for being mindful of the rising cost of food and how it affected the citizens.

He said that the centre agreed with the President’s speech to deploy a number of initiatives to reverse the inflationary trend and guarantee future uninterrupted supplies of affordable foods to ordinary Nigerians.

According to him, as with most emergencies, there are immediate, medium and long-term interventions and solutions.

Nwosu said that the government’s decision to deploy some savings from the fuel subsidy removal into the agricultural sector as well as the release of fertilisers and grains to farmers and households were well thought out.

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