The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Mohammed Abubakar, has dismissed concerns that Nigerians would experience food shortage in the coming months.

Abubakar said this while responding to questions from lawmakers on Monday at the budget defence session jointly organised by Senate and House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture.

Some of the lawmakers in their separate submissions had decried the effect of flooding in the country on farm products.

They said projections had been made that Africa may experience food shortage given the stoppage of grains importations occasioned by Russian-Ukrainian wars.

Responding to the issues, Abubakar said, “The main concern about food scarcity in the coming months, we will not allow that to happen. I can guarantee you by the Grace of God because we have measures in place.

“One of the measures is dry season farming, which we have in place. And for the money, we are working with Ministry of Finance.

“We have gotten money from financing agencies, one of them is African Development Bank, and we will intensify dry season farming.” he said.

Mohammed added that although flood was a natural phenomenon that could not be stopped, it could be used to benefit agriculture production.

He noted that the ministry was already assessing the flood situation on the extent of damage done to farmlands and crops like rice and maize, and the number of farmers affected.

He said the immediate intervention was that the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management was currently distributing grains provided by the agric ministry.

According to him, the ministry has programmes lined up to address issues of flooding of farm produce.On supporting of farmers for increased crop production, he said the ministry was distributing inputs every year in every geo-political zones, adding that records of the distribution including farm implements to farmers were available.

“We have insurance scheme for farmers who are flood victims.

“For those under insurance coverage, we process and pay them, and for those who don’t have, we do intervention from the government from time to time.”

He said in line with the directives of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd), for the provision of a master plan to mitigate flood, the ministry was collaborating with the Ministries of Water Resources and Environment.According to him, the ministry has gone far in executing the 2022 budget, adding that several agric projects and programmes have been awarded for implementation.

He stated, “We are improving the production of agriculture products in areas where there is security to make up for areas that have security challenges. Security agencies are helping to provide some measures of security.

“We have a big project for factorisation and it is ongoing. We have countries where companies have already pledged to invest in agro-processing zones, for example, the Kuwait firms have already committed $100,000,000.”

The Chairman of Senate Committee on Agriculture, Abdullahi Yahaya (APC-Kebbi), said the Agricultural ministry must ensure that its budget was specific and focused on programmes to be executed.

He said there was also the need to ensure that the preparation of the budget entailed a collaboration with representatives of the people so as to benefit the people.

He said, “It is appalling that a country of over 200 million people would have a low budget on agriculture,” saying that it was nothing to write home about.

Abdullahi, however, said the Federal Government in the last four years has done creditably well on releases of budget funds for the execution of projects in the agric sector and other MDAs, saying that the MDAs had gotten not less than 70 to 80 percent of their capital release.

This, he said was made possible via the consistent efforts of the National Assembly on budget processing and approvals.

According to report, the 2023 Appropriation Bill shows that the federal government earmarked N228.4 billion for the ministry of agriculture.


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