Ministers Gather For Food Security Conference In Berlin

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock addresses delegates during the conference on global food crisis on June 24, 2022 in Berlin.
John MACDOUGALL / POOL / AFP

 

 

Foreign, agriculture, and development ministers from around the world are gathering in Berlin on Friday for a conference on food security amid concerns the Ukraine conflict could cause hunger in some countries.

Representatives from 40 countries, including the hardest-hit nations like Nigeria, Tunisia and Indonesia, will attend the meeting under the title “Uniting for Global Food Security” ahead of a G7 leaders summit in Bavaria starting on Sunday.

As a result of Russia’s invasion of top agricultural exporter Ukraine, grain deliveries across the Black Sea have been stalled by minefields and a Russian military blockade of Ukrainian ports.

Representatives from 40 countries, including the hardest-hit nations like Nigeria, Tunisia and Indonesia, attend the meeting under the title “Uniting for Global Food Security” ahead of a G7 leaders summit in Bavaria starting on June 26, 2022.
Bernd von Jutrczenka / POOL / AFP

 

The crisis has seen food prices soar and contributed to the global spike in inflation.

The United Nations has warned that it is currently affecting poorer African countries the most because of their heavy dependence on Russian and Ukrainian wheat.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock on Friday accused Russia of using hunger “quite deliberately as a weapon of war” and “taking the whole world hostage”.

A global hunger crisis had already been looming “like a life-threatening wave”, she said, but Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has “turned this wave into a tsunami”.

Moscow denies blocking the passage of cargo vessels and blames Western sanctions against Russia for contributing to the food crisis.

Turkey has been spearheading efforts to resume grain deliveries across the Black Sea and this week agreed to pursue talks on how to solve the crisis after a meeting with Russian officials in Moscow.

The Turkish defence ministry said four-way grain talks between Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and the UN could be held in Turkey “in the coming weeks”.

Baerbock said Friday’s conference would aim to “offer solutions” such as accelerating food exports from Ukraine through new land routes.

Discussions will also focus on increasing aid to the worst-hit countries, though the event is not being billed as a donor conference.

Buhari Receives Adesina In Abuja, Harps On Food Security

 

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday received the President of the African Development Bank, Dr Akinwumi Adesina at the State House in Abuja.

Their talks centred on food security for Nigeria.

President Buhari applauded the $1.5 billion African Emergency Food plan developed by the AfDB, which is awaiting ratification by its board.

The plan was developed to forestall food crisis in Africa owing to the Russia-Ukraine crisis.

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President Muhammadu Buhari on April 26, 2022, met with President of the AfDB, Akinwumi Adesina at the State House in Abuja. Sunday Aghaeze/State House
President Muhammadu Buhari on April 26, 2022, met with President of the AfDB, Akinwumi Adesina at the State House in Abuja. Sunday Aghaeze/State House

 

According to the President, “We are very much aware of the need for food security, and to encourage our local farmers, that was why we closed our borders for about two years to curb smuggling. We made some progress.”

The AfDB boss also informed the President of the bank’s prediction that Africa will lose $11 billion worth of owing to a fertiliser crisis expected to diminish food production by about 20 percent.

Ayade joins race

Meanwhile, the President also met with Governor Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State, who visited albeit privately; Governor Aminu Tambuwa of Sokoto, a presidential aspirant under the Peoples Democratic Party and Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State, the only APC Governor in the South-South.

In a chat with State House correspondents, Governor Ayade revealed his presidential aspiration.

Fielding questions from correspondents, the Governor said he has respect for former President Goodluck Jonathan, noting that if it is the decision of the APC to field him as its candidate, he would support him.

Should he become President in 2023, the Governor hinges his focus on the tripartite areas of security, economy and power.

How We Used Technology To End Corruption, Boost Food Security In Nigeria – Adesina

 

The President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Akinwumi Adesina, on Wednesday, emphasised the importance of technology, recalling its deployment during his tenure as Nigeria’s Agriculture Minister.

Adesina served as Minister under the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan from 2011-2015. Shortly after, he emerged as the first Nigerian to become AfDB President, a position he currently occupies.

Speaking during the Conferment of Honorary Doctorate of Technology by the Federal University of Technology Minna, the AfDB President said he turned the power of technology in Nigeria’s Agricultural sector.

AfDB President, Dr Akinwumi Adesina speaks during a convocation ceremony of the Federal University of Technology Minna, Niger State on February 2, 2022.

 

According to him, he enabled 15 million farmers to have access to improved seeds and fertilisers and to end corruption in the agricultural sector using their mobile phones.

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“It was revolutionary; the first not only in Africa but actually it was the first in the world. It helped to produce in Nigeria a record additional 21 million metric tonnes of food. It boosted food security and expanded wealth for farmers,” he said.

“Rural wealth expanded from the North-East across the North-Central to the North-West, from the South-West, South-East and the South-South of the country.

“It brought accountability and transparency in the use of public funds. It changed the lives of farmers including Hajia Ladi Balade, a female farmer in Zamfara’s Bakalori irrigation project who was growing just two hectares of rice,” Adesina stated.

“I went to her farm. With the technology support she received on her mobile phone, Hajia Ladi Baladi boosted her production, went to Mecca and supported 23 orphans. My wife, Grace is here today. She would call Hajia Ladi Balade the Minister’s second wife.”

He also charged the class of 2022 of the institution to embrace technology and build a new, smart Nigeria.

Adesina believes that the graduates have been shaped in Minna and should help shape the tech future of Nigeria.

“As the class of 2022, you will help shape the tech future of Nigeria.: So be leaders, you have been shaped right here in Minna for exports to other parts of Nigeria, Africa and to the world.

“Build a new, smart, dynamic, globally competitive Nigeria. It is in your hands, go and make it happen.  I wish you success and God’s success and God’s richest blessing,” he added.

What Nigeria Is Doing To Attain Food Security, Buhari Tells UN Summit

A file photo of a food trader at a market in Akure, the Ondo State capital. Sodiq Adelakun/Channels Television
A file photo of a food trader at a market in Akure, the Ondo State capital. Sodiq Adelakun/Channels Television.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has explained what the Federal Government is doing to attain food security in Nigeria.

He spoke on Thursday while participating in the Food Systems Summit, as part of the High-Level meetings of the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, the United States.

The President disclosed that Nigeria had developed a “food system focused development agenda that prioritises healthy diets and affordable nutrition, inclusive, efficient, resilient, and sustainable, which will contribute to rebuilding our economy, creating jobs, and spurring growth across sectors while sustaining our ecosystems.”

He said the plan was the outcome of a wide-range stakeholder engagement geared towards a better understanding of their food systems, experiences, and needs.

“Following the recommendations from the dialogues and our plan to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty within a decade, Nigeria is committed to investing in food security and nutrition knowledge dissemination, skills development, and information management systems to enhance agricultural productivity, building sustainable, responsive, and inclusive food systems, enhancing the productivity of smallholder farmers, and empowering women and youths for greater access to food production,” President Buhari was quoted as saying in a statement by his media adviser, Femi Adesina.

A file photo of President Muhammadu Buhari.

 

According to him, the government intends to achieve this while strengthening climate mitigation strategies and conflict early warning systems that will reduce the stress and shock to the nation’s food systems.

The President commended the initiative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations for convening the Summit.

He described it as “a bold step towards achieving the 2030 global development agenda at a time COVID-19 pandemic and its attendant consequences are threatening progress.”

President Buhari stressed that Nigeria would work to transform its food systems and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda.

“We hope to learn from and collaborate with member states that have grappled or are grappling with food systems concerns similar to ours. We especially support the emerging coalitions of actions and sustainable food systems,” he added.

Nigeria Has Achieved Progress In Food Security – Finance Minister

 

Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Budget, and Planning Zainab Ahmed says she believes that Nigeria has achieved progress in attaining self-sufficiency in food security.

The Minister said this while responding to questions during an interview on The Platform, a programmed aired on Thursday on Channels Television.

She said the nation would have been faced with serious problems during the lockdown prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic if the nation was not self-sufficient in food sufficiency.

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“We are doing everything that we can to make sure that our country is self-sufficient, especially in the area of food security.

“I must say that we have achieved some progress in that regard because if we didn’t have self-sufficiency in food security when there was the lockdown and there was no movement in and out of the country, we would have very significant problems.

“We were able to grow it and the situation was not as bad as it probably would have been,” she said.

Ahmed also highlighted that the COVID-19, although an unfortunate reality presented some opportunities to Nigeria economy

“One of those opportunities was the removal of fuel price which was quickly followed by the relaxation of the control of electricity tariff,” she said noting that the Federal Government is working to ensure that the reforms that were put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic are sustained.

Senate Considers Bill To Address Food Security Problem In Nigeria

 

The Senate has commenced legislative action to address the country’s food security problems by considering a bill to that effect.

According to a statement signed by the Special Assistant (Press) to President of the Senate, Ezrel Tabiowo, the bill, which was sponsored by Senator Theordore Orji (PDP, Abia Central), is for an Act to make Provision For Freedom From Hunger and the Right to Adequate Food of Acceptable Quality.

Senator Orji, in his lead debate on the bill which scaled second reading on Tuesday, said the piece of legislation before the National Assembly seeks to create basic right to food of acceptable quality and the right of every child to basic nutrition.

The lawmaker pointed out that the passage of the Bill by the legislature and its eventual assent by the President will address issues of hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition.

“It is important to point out that Food Security means far more than having sufficient food to meet human needs on a national basis,” Orji said.

“Other very important factors include access to safe drinking water, primary health care and environmental hygiene”.

According to the lawmaker, developing countries have been enacting laws aimed at food security after the World Food Crisis in 2008.

Citing Mauritius as an example, Senator Orji said that the country enacted a Food Security Fund to enhance local production of food by tackling all the problems militating against it.

He added that the bill, among other things, seeks “to provide a framework that promotes the elimination and prevention of discrimination of marginalized groups in the access and distribution of food.”

The bill also seeks to establish an Agency as well as stipulates provisions for Chairmanship, membership of the board, tenure of office, amongst others.

It also proposes the establishment of a Food Security Committee in each State of the Federation, whose functions shall include: implementing food security policy and programmes, participating in collection, preparation and dissemination of data on food security and nutrition in the State.

The Committee shall also be charged with identifying food-insecure areas, appropriating programmes and eligible beneficiaries in relation to food security.

Clause 35, Part VII of the Bill establishes a “Food Insecurity and Information Mapping System”, making it mandatory for the Agency to work in collaboration with Ministries of Finance, Disaster Management, Planning and National Security to provide the information needed to develop and strengthen the capacity to respond to food emergencies.

The bill also gives the President the power to declare a food emergency if in his opinion there is a major shortfall in the domestic production or availability of a designated Agricultural commodity.

In a related development, the Senate also on Tuesday considered the Rice Development Council Bill, 2019.

Sponsor of the bill, Senator Enagi Bima, in his lead debate, said the proposed legislation seeks to establish a Council that will revolutionize the entire value chain on rice.

According to the lawmaker, the establishment of a National Rice Development Council will transform the activities of rice farmers, rice processors, millers, researchers, marketers and other important stakeholders across the entire rice value chain in the country.

The two bills after consideration were referred by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, to the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development for further legislative work.

Food Security: Govt Policies Not Showing On Average Nigerian’s Stomach – Farmer

A former chairman of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Agric Sector), Mr Wale Oyekoya, believes the policies of the Federal Government has little or no effect on the average Nigerian.

The agricultural expert and farmer said this during his appearance on Sunrise Daily on Thursday.

“All these policies are not really trickling down or showing on the stomach of average Nigerians,” he said on the Channels Television breakfast show.

“Yes, there have been so many robust ideas by the Federal and state governments; but I’m here to be corrected if most of these farmers are really benefitting.”

Mr Oyekoya stressed that while the government has come up with various laws to reform the nation’s agricultural sector, there is a need to focus more on the implementation stage.

He cited the Commercial Agricultural Credit Scheme (CACS) initiated by the Goodluck Jonathan administration.

The expert claimed that less than 15 per cent of farmers benefited from the disbursement of billions of naira by the previous government under the programme.

He added that a part of the fund was benefitted by “political farmers” and more problems were surfacing as the present administration address the issue.

Food Security: Govt Policies Not Showing On Average Nigerian’s Stomach – Farmer
Former LCCI Chairman (Agric Sector), Mr Wale Oyekoya, speaks in an interview on Sunrise Daily on August 23, 2018.

 

The farmer said, “Definitely, there have been so many policies and the problem has always been the implementation of most of these policies.

“See, it’s a game they play and it’s a bad time that we keep deceiving Nigerians in the process of achieving political points. An average Nigerian will tell you that there is a problem in this country in terms of food security.”

The agricultural expert also condemned a situation where the country still imports certain food, saying such is not good for its economy.

According to him, Nigeria is blessed with fertile soil and good atmosphere while the assertion that the nation is self-sufficient in rice production is a lie.

Mr Oyekoya accused some political leaders of supporting food importation because of greed and urged the government to come to the rescue of farmers in the country.

“We have no business importing any food into this country,” he insisted, saying, “We are doing that because of the greed of some of our leaders; because they capture some of these interventions and instead of them to spend the money here, they spend it elsewhere.”

The expert added, “Look at the price of maize today, do you believe that more than half of the maize we use in this country are still being imported? By the time you produce yours, there is no way you can compete with the importation of some of these things.”

CBN Agriculture Scheme To Boost Food Security, Employment In Abia

The Abia State Government has formally sworn in a project management team of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Accelerated Agricultural scheme, as part of efforts to boost food production and provide 10,000 jobs for Abia youths.

The team has the commissioner of Agriculture as the chairman, with the Programme Director of the Agriculture Development Programme (ADP), Head of Development Finance officer of the CBN, representative of farmers, representative of Bank of Agriculture and State Director of National Directorate of Employment (NDE) as members.

At the inauguration of the committee at the Ministry of Agriculture Headquarters Umuahia, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Uzoamaka Ikonne, said it was the governor’s directive and in line with the CBN requirement for the programme.

According to her, the state government is ready to implement the scheme in the state and expressed hope that the success of the scheme will help curb youth restiveness.

“As a state, we have shown readiness to buy into the CBN programme, because agriculture is one of the main pillars of development of the Governor Ikpeazu administration.

“I want you to know that this government has taken concrete steps to procure farming equipment and delve into novel areas of agriculture like mushroom farming aim to boost agriculture development”.

The chairman of the project management team, Uzor Azubuike, in his remarks, explained that the state is set to implement the scheme as it can boast of enough hectares of land to accommodate the scheme.

“I want to thank Governor Ikpeazu for his interest in the welfare of the people and the agricultural sector, as well as the CBN for its relentless effort in opening various windows of opportunities to assist Nigerians especially the youths”.

Food Security: Nasarawa Govt. Subsidise Fertilizer For Farmers

Al-Makura Commits To Peaceful Coexistence In NasarawaThe Nasarawa State Government says it has concluded arrangements to purchase more than 240,000 bags of fertilizers to distribute to farmers at a subsidized rate.

The Nasarawa State Commissioner of Agriculture and Natural Resources Jameel Zakari made the disclosure in an interview in Lafia.

He said the government would ensure that genuine farmers access the adequate amount of the commodity as the rains set in. and added that government has signed an agreement with suppliers

He added that government has signed an agreement with suppliers through the governors’ forum for the product.

He pointed out that that the over 400 truckloads of the product expected from the agreement would last beyond the coming rainy season.

He also pointed out that given the commitment of the state government to make fertilizer available early enough, had worked out the necessary modalities for the prompt supply of the commodity.

“We would soon begin to take delivery of the fertilizer in the state for distribution to farmers taking into cognizance of the fact that the earlier farmers got it, the more beneficial it would be towards improving crop yield,” he said.

He explained that there is already a template for the equitable distribution of the commodity to genuine farmers to allay the fear of diversion of the commodity.

The commissioner further said that Governor Tanko Al-Makura has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with a Chinese firm, during his recent visit to China, for the establishment of four fertilizer blending plants in the state.

“As we speak, the Chinese partners are already in the state to put finishing touches to the Memorandum of Understanding and start work on the plants,’’

In his opinion, the persistent cases of scarcity of fertilizer would be over in the state when the plants start production.

FG Spends N9bn To Boost Food Security

Agriculture, Food Sufficiency,The Federal Government through the Bank of Agriculture, has expended nine billion Naira on agriculture in Nigeria’s south-east region, to encourage farmers, foster food security, as well as employment of women and youths.

This assertion was made known to newsmen at Enugu when the delegation unveiled their Agriculture layout aimed to boost the economy. According to them, there are opportunities that can be tapped from in the region, that include the oil palm revolution, the cocoa enhancement, rice, among many others.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Bank of Agriculture, Kabir Mohammed, noted that there are projects that are directed at improving the employment rate in the country.

“I want to say that what we intend to do is to make sure that we support the rural women because that is one of our mandates.

“You must know that there are a lot of women in the rural area that are involved in agriculture in the south- east zone and presently, our intention is to make sure that our activities are extended to them.

“I want to say that we are looking at youth unemployment which is a global phenomenon and we are committed and have projects targeted at improving employment rate in Nigeria. We want to use agriculture to get the youths engaged thereby reducing youth restiveness drastically.”

Meanwhile, the Executive Director, Partnership and Strategy, Dr. Gabriel Okenwa, disclosed that the Federal Government’s strategic focus on the agriculture sector is geared towards producing more food for the citizens and a lot more for export.

“I must say that Nigerians are very hard working and resilient people and with the strategic re-focus in Agriculture now, all hands should be on deck – We will produce enough food for the people and have more for export, and I must say that the Federal Government is doing a lot in Agriculture.”

Osinbajo Meets With Rice Task Force

Osinbajo Meets With Rice Task Force  Nigeria’s Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has met with the Presidential Task Force On Rice and Wheat at the presidential villa.

The meeting which took place behind closed doors, had in attendance some state governors, including the governors of Kano, Jigawa, Kebbi and Ebonyi.

The Kebbi State Governor, Bagudu Abubakar, speaking to journalists after the meeting, said that they reviewed the wheat and rice programme so as to discover how to support states to increase production of the staple foods.

He said Osinbajo noted with satisfaction, all the efforts of the different stakeholders to attain food sufficiency in the shortest possible time.

Furthermore, the acting president gave an assurance that the Federal Government would continue to support the drive towards food self-sufficiency.

Ogun Govt. Partners IFAD On Cassava, Rice Production

Corruption, Poor Leadership Responsible For Africa’s Poverty- IFADThe Ogun state government says it is partnering the International Funds For Agricultural Development (IFAD), to cultivate 6,000 and 2,000 hectres of mechanized farmland for cassava and rice respectively, in the 2017 planting season to ensure food security.

This was communicated in Abeokuta, the Ogun state capital at a one day sensitisation workshop for representatives of farmers from the three senatorial districts of the state on mechanized Agriculture service delivery.

According to the State Commissioner for Agriculture, Mrs Adepeju Adebajo, who was represented by the Ogun state coordinator of the IFAD, Mr Samuel Adeogun, this is in order to take advantage of the sector and its value chain in rice and cassava production to develop the state economy and ensure employment opportunities for its residents.

”We are here because farm mechanization is one of the strategies adopted by IFAD to enhance the productivity of farmers along the rice and cassava value chain and as you know, to improve the productivity of farmers we must be mechanised, the era of hoes and cutlasses are over if we are to feed our teeming population.

”It is becoming very important that we put in place a service delivery that will ensure our farms are adequately mechanized. For this planting season, we are looking at about 6,000 hectres of cassava and 2,000 hectres of rice production and if we are to deliver on this, all hands must be on deck.

”Ogun state is the only state in the whole of the southwest participating in the IFAD supported value chain development programme. That is very instructive for us and let me also put it on record that the state government has actually supported this project.

“Our counterpart funds for 2014 and 2015 have been paid while approval for the 2016 has been granted by the governor. He has been highly supportive of the programme.” he added.

Some of the farmers present at the occasion appealed to the government to fast track efforts in this direction before the commencement of the planting season.

”The government should please come to our aid. At least last year we were able to cultivate about 37 hectres of farmland through mechanized farming and we are targeting 50 hectres this year.

“The most important thing is that government should help us on time before the commencement of the planting season,” they urged.