President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday in Abuja has called on various groups to access government interventions, loans and schemes to promote agriculture with the view of ending poverty. Buhari, represented by the Vice-Chairman, National Food Security Council and Gov. Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State, made the appeal during the second National Unity Food Fair, organised by National Council for Women Societies (NCWS).
It was themed: “Subsistent farming to mechanisation at the grassroots”. According to him, funds are readily available for various groups to access, adding that it will promote agriculture, reduce importation of agricultural produce, livestock and reduce unemployment in the country.
“The money is there because we have instructed the CBN to make money available for agri-business. Groups should come out and request for agric funding because the funds are available. “Nigerian food is the best in the world, let us grow what we eat and eat what we grow so that we can end poverty. Food security will also end unemployment,” he said.
He noted the importance of food security, adding that no country has developed without a vibrant agric sector, urging farmers to switch to mechanised farming in order to produce more and citizens to form groups and access loans meant for agric-businesses from the central bank. He noted the role of women in the development of any nation, particularly on agriculture and food value chain, advising them to continue to achieve higher yield in agriculture.
“Women groups have the biggest role in agriculture, and you need to mobilise women groups in states to take advantage of the windows readily available to access funds, which would improve agriculture.” The president further explained that the border closure was aimed at reducing the importation of agricultural produce, particularly rice in order to promote local productivity.
Mrs Gloria Shoda, National President, NCWS, said the fair was in commemoration of the World Food Day celebration to underscore the importance of food in the lives of mankind. She added that the fair aimed at promoting popular Nigerian dishes, encourage culinary exchanges, identify and empower women with cuisine talents and complement government’s efforts in achieving SDGs goal on zero hunger.
“This is a medium to foster unity through food security and agricultural achievements and to showcase and celebrate the great Nigerian cuisine,” she said. The Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Pauline Tallen, represented by JAMB Board Member, Hajiya Maryam Ibrahim, said the Food Fair is Nigeria’s way of joining other countries of the world to celebrate the International Day of Rural Women with the them.
“Rural Women and Girls Building Climate Resilience”. Tallen listed food processing and consumption as one of the end products in the agricultural value chain, adding that the fair will give credence to the role women play in achieving transformational advances in agriculture and rural development.