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July 20, 2024

Agric Ministry Targets 31m Metric Tons of Grains in 2024 to Boost Food Security

As part of measures to boost Nigeria’s economy, the Federal Government through the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security has pledged to produce at least 31 million metric tons of grains in 2024, which is one way to combating food inflation, creating jobs, reducing poverty and respond to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s emergency on food security.

The Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Security, Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, made the promise on Tuesday, in  Abuja  at the opening session of the 6th edition of Seed Connect Conference and Exhibition, tagged: ‘Global Declaration of Food Emergency – The role of the seed industry and ensuring Africa’s Food and Nutrition Security’. 

According to the minister, Nigeria’s seed requirement/need for 5 major crops including rice, maize, wheat , soya beans and sorghum in 2024 is 312,555.69MT of seeds and it is expected to yield almost 31million Metric tons of grains.

The minister further outlined a series of critical pathways to solve the food security challenges, these pathways, according to him, have been streamlined into short term, intermediate and long term actions.

“One immediate priority is the certification of available planting material for some food security crops in the dry season farming of 2023/2024 which we flagged-off in Jigawa state last Saturday, 25 November 2023’.’

He stated that the ministry was targeting over 70,000Ha for wheat production under a facility support of the Africa Development Bank (AfDB) and National Agricultural Growth Scheme and AgroPocket Scheme (NAGS-AP) project.

He added that farmers are being supported with quality seeds for rice, maize and soybean and other inputs at a subsidized rate.

In his words: “Pasture seeds development, fodder and foliage estates that would gradually eliminate farmers and herders clashes, creation of gene banks facilities is also a short term intervention that the administration is pursuing.

“In terms of finance which is very critical, the take-off of the National Agricultural Development Fund to support production, critical agricultural infrastructure and provide financial leverage for farmers will also be focused on in the short term.

“This will also be supported by reforms in the Bank of Agriculture and Nigeria Agricultural Insurance Corporation to meet the need of its clientele using digital solutions’’.

Also speaking, the Acting Director General, National Agricultural Seed Council (NASC), Dr. Ishiak Khalid, said that this year’s event was dedicated to the global declaration of food emergency and the role of Africa’s seed sector in creating a sustainable food system to ensure access to nutritious and affordable food both now, and in the future.

Dr. Khalid stated that NASC would also be convening a National seed planning to bring stakeholders to plan for the 2024 planting season and how to achieve the national seed requirement.

“In terms of inclusivity, NASC is leveraging on the use of Licensed Seed inspectors to achieve low level certification in an efficient manner’’.

“The target of Mr. President in making quality seed available to farmers is a drive the Seed Council is following through by deploying all arsenals for efficient seed certification, surveillance and mopping out adulterated seeds. Not leaving out building of industry capacity especially with the NASC membership of the OECD,” he added.

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