By Asmau Ahmad
The Nigeria’s Federal Government has reiterated its resolve to reposition agriculture to its pride of place in national development to ensure food security.
The Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Senator Abubakar Kyari, made this submission at a news conference on Monday in Abuja to mark the 2023 World Food Day.
He said that the theme of the 2023 World Food Day which is, “Water is Life, Water is Food. Leave no One Behind,” was apt and timely for Nigeria.
He said the theme was in tandem with the Renewed Hope Agenda of the federal government to improve Nigeria’s food systems and alleviate hunger.
Senator Kyari said that the primary aim of the food day was to escalate public awareness and promote enhanced commitment to increased food production.
According to him, the exercise will ultimately combat world hunger and make wholesome food available for everyone.
The minister said it underscored the vital role of water in sustaining life on earth and its fundamental connection to the nation’s food sources.
He said that enhancing food production while preserving the country’s natural resources like water had become critical to ensure sustainable food and nutrition security.
“However, it is empirically unequivocal that our planet’s water resources are declining due to climate change, urbanisation and rapid population growth.
“Such an increasing threat to regular water supply has adversely affected not only food production but also agricultural livelihoods, with developing countries in particular, bearing a disproportionate burden.
“There must be an urgent 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.
Kyari said that a clear road map had been drawn up by the ministry in collaboration with the ministry of water resources to optimally harness all water resources available in producing areas.
The minister said these included River Basins, Dams (around irrigable lands) and other wetlands for multiple cropping cycle.
He said the renewed synergy and cooperation between the two ministries had begun in earnest and would be deployed for the 2023/2024 dry season farming.
“This will begin with priority crops including wheat, rice, maize and cassava with aggressive sustainable plan for up-scaling and replicating same for other crops, livestock and fisheries across the federation,” he said.