Two weeks ago, I announced my intention to establish and Chair a Presidential level committee that focuses on Food Security, I am happy that today it has become a reality.
Nigeria’s journey in the last three (3) years, has been a very turbulent one. The country’s need for critical job creating sectors which has been ignored for decades is now beginning to yield results.
We introduced the National Social Investment Programs targeting millions of Nigerians who are living from hand to mouth.
We launched agricultural programs focusing on import substitution, job creation and rural development thereby bringing socio-economic transformation to the millions of citizens living in some of the most remote rural parts of our country.
We commenced the long term Pollution Remediation Projects in the Niger Delta with the hope of restoring dignity and normalcy to the millions of Nigerians impacted by decades of pollution in their communities. Fishing and farming will resume once blighted areas are rehabilitated.
We intensified our participation in the Lake Chad Basin Commission with the goal of reversing the shrinkage of the lake, which impacts the livelihoods of over 45 million farmers, herdsmen and fishermen in the LCBC countries.
We issued the first ever green bond that will act as a catalyst for investments in renewable energy and afforestation projects. This was oversubscribed, sharing market confidence in the country and our Government.
We established the Agro Rangers Unit within the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps to protect the billions of naira of investments recorded in Nigeria’s agricultural sector across the country.
We continued to equip the Nigerian Navy and Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency to fight maritime criminals such as pirates and sea robbers who adversely impact offshore and inland fishing activities in our waters.
These programs and many more, have started yielding results and if sustained, will transform the lives of millions of Nigerians across the country.
We are well aware that the full results will not be felt or seen overnight. The journey is long. It is therefore our collective duty to ensure the actual and potential positive impacts of these programs are sustained, improved and expanded.
A key mandate of the Food Security Council is to continuously assess and enhance these infant, but impactful programs, thereby guaranteeing they achieve their full potential.
We shall also develop new programs and projects that will protect and indeed, create more jobs in farming, fisheries, animal husbandry and forestry.
As we all know, land is use for farming, grazing and forestry, Water is used for irrigation, livestock sustenance and fishing. Therefore, any strategy for land and water management must take into account the interconnectivity of all these key sectors to ensure equity and sustainability.
We will also not lose sight of the other issues that will impact our food production ambitions such as;
- Population growth.
- Rural Infrastructure Development and
- Climate Change.
These factors will also stress and stretch our land and water resources. This means we must invest in research and development to enhance yields and outputs.
Moreover, we are not insulated from Global and Regional events. Accordingly we develop local programs, but not lose sight of events from a far and their impact on us. Specifically, issues such as smuggling and dumping, which is our responsibility to ensure we develop and enforce strategies to protect Nigeria from these illegal and unhealthy imports.
The Council includes Governors representing the six (6) geopolitical zones. Some geopolitical zones have similar Eco climatic conditions. The council is therefore a platform to further enhance the collaboration between the Federal and State Governments. We shall share success stories and collaborate to address common threats.
We will also engage key stakeholders representing the core sectors of the Food Value Chain. Regular consultations will be held with investors, development partners, financiers, academia and our friends and allies abroad.
Our deliberations will look into all the issues and our decisions will be implementable and impactful. We shall stay focussed, first and foremost on securing our food requirements and employment for our people, especially the youths. We shall feed ourselves and build an inclusive Nigeria for ourselves and for future generations.
Thank you may God bless our country.