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Sani Ibrahim
Abubakar Tafawa Balewa,University
Agricultural economics and extension
100Level, Nigeria.
…says COVID-19 border closure made Nigeria food self-
sufficient
Mohammed Nanono
THE Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development,
Mohammed Nanono, at the weekend, disclosed that Federal
Government will soon boost farmers’ activities with stimulus
of over N600 billion.
Nanono made known in a statement signed by the Director
Information, Theodore Ogaziechi, while on a tour of Dangote
Fertilizer Plant in Lagos State.
According to him the tour was part of meeting with other
fertilizer companies in Lagos State, to fashion out private
sector participation that would galvanize the sector, especially
in the heat of COVID-19 pandemic as regards to food
production and security ahead of 2021 that would also
mitigate high cost of food currently experienced in the
country.
The statement reads in part, “The Minister of Agriculture and
Rural Development, Alhaji Muhammad Sabo Nanono, has
revealed that the Federal Government has resolved to inject
over N600 billion as stimulus response into the agriculture
sector, targeting small scale farmers, to ensure food security
and sustainability. The Minister stated this while on a weekend
tour of Dangote Fertilizer Plant.”
The statement further reads, “Nanono had explained that the
well over N600 billion stimulus response which targets farmers
nationwide will take off with an initial 2.4 million farmers in
the first instance. He also noted that to avoid the abuse of
government funds and good intentions, the support will be in
kind in form of inputs and not cash as was the practice in the
past.”
Meanwhile, according to the statement as a result of closure
of international borders as a result of COVID-19 pandemic,
Nigeria now is food self-sufficient, “The Minister added that
the forceful closure of all international borders, necessitated
by the COVID-19 Pandemic, has made it evident that Nigeria
can conveniently and sustainably feed itself.”
The statement also disclosed that in another engagement, the
Minister and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr
Abdulkadir Mu’azu, had interaction with agro-input dealers in
Lagos, where they discussed quality, affordability and
availability of fertilizer across the country.
“The big player, Dangote Group and other fertilizer blending
companies, Premium Agro Limited, Elephant Group and
Kewalram Group stated that raw materials for fertilizer
blending, most especially ammonium phosphate, is the major
challenge they face.
“However, the cherry news is that Dangote Group is
considering the exploration of local source for the raw
materials which they are hopeful and confident that once the
domestic source is remedied, the problem of fertilizer shortfall
will become history in the country.
“The Minister was overwhelmed with this revelation and is of
the opinion that with the impressive strategies initiated by the
Dangote Group, the outcome will change the narrative of
agriculture, food production/ fertilizer availability and the
nation’s economy for good before the close of 2020”, the
statement added.
The Minister had earlier paid a courtesy visit to the Governor
of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-olu, where he pledged to
support the farming communities with rural roads, solar
lighting and water holes so as to encourage and empower
them to increase productivity.
He also promised to collaborate with Lagos State Government
in the fishing sector in order to tap the potentials of its marine
endowments and drastically reduce the importation of fish in
Nigeria.
Sanwo –olu who was represented by the Deputy Governor of
Lagos State, Dr Obafemi Hamzat, disclosed that after
completion of the State’s rice mill which is the largest in the
country with a capacity of 30 million metric tonnes per annum
Nigeria’s export capacity of the commodity will tremendously
increase and also drastically reduce local cost of rice bag in
the market.

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