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Nigeria Must Feed Itself And Export, Says Tinubu

By George George Idowu

President Bola Tinubu has reiterated is stand on the need for Nigeria to feed itself and also have enough to export to other countries.

He maintain this stand during the flagged off of Food Security and Agricultural Mechanization Programme in Minna capital of Niger State on Monday.

In his words: “We have seen the level of commitment here. We have seen leadership. The success of any leader will depend on the ability to do what needs to be done when it ought to be done. It is now time for us to address the challenges and make Nigeria an economy of opportunities. We must care for our people; re-orient our people. I do not see why Nigeria cannot feed all students in its schools.”

Expressing empathy for the plight of farmers grappling with the impact of roaming cattle on crops and vegetation, Tinubu pledged to collaborate with state governments in providing comprehensive solutions to such issues.

“I know what it means for roaming cows to eat crops and the vegetation of our land. I know it is painful. But when we re-orient the herder and make provision for cattle rearing, we can address that. You are the governors who are to provide us with land. I, as President, I am committed to providing a comprehensive programme that will solve this problem,” the President said.

He therefore urged governors to allocate land for cattle rearing and affirmed his commitment to implementing programs aimed at alleviating hunger and enhancing social security.

Tinubu further guaranteed continued support to the Farmer Governor of Niger State, Mohammed Umaru Bago to achieve his desire of feeding the nation.

According to him, “I can guarantee you of Federal support. I will partner with you to banish hunger. You are doing the job, and working the talks.”

He encouraged him to continue with his aggressive and strong determination to be the number one to feed the nation.

On the part of Bago, the state governor, he said the State is well positioned to produce 50 million metric tons of assorted food crops annually and be the largest sub-national food exporter in Nigeria.

Bago disclosed that the State Government is determined to attract investments, private sector equity and loans totalling 500 billion Naira annually over the next seven years.

The Governor also disclosed that the construction of a canal to harness water from the Shiroro Dam is in the pipeline to irrigate 90,000 hectares comprising 236 kilometres of irrigation canals and other associated engineering infrastructure to expand the agricultural production capacity of the State.

He assured that the state would contribute significantly to the federal government’s strategic reserve as it will ensure that all the arable lands in the state are cultivated, adding that the idea would curb insecurity in the state as there will no more hiding place for kidnappers and banditry activities.

“We as a state will be pleased to provide the federal government with the platform for contract farming for the National Strategic Grain Reserve with vast potential to produce 2 million metric tons of food for the strategic reserves annually.

“This partnership will not only bolster our state’s economy but also strengthen the nation’s drive towards sustainable food security and resilience against external shocks,” he said.

While outlining his administration’s achievements and intentions in the area of agriculture and infrastructural development, the Farmer Governor said his administration has invested in agricultural machinery and technology as it has procured tractors, harvesters, solar irrigation water pumps, Pivot Irrigation Systems, metric tons of NPK/UREA Fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides and has also embarked on land preparation and cultivation across the state.

The governor further called on Federal Government support in the development of Baro Port, the Kainji National Park, and Dry Inland Port Terminals at Bida, Mokwa, Babanna, and Suleja, stressing doing so would accelerate growth and prosperity for all.

Bago appreciated the President for approving this Airport as a special Agro-processing Free Zone for greenhouses; dairy and meat processing, and Agro-processing storage, aggregation, and other value chain development components.

The inauguration of the Food Security and Agricultural Mechanization Programme marks a pivotal step towards achieving food security and economic prosperity in Niger State and Nigeria at large.


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