Breaking News: Tinubu creates National Commodity Board, to acquire 500,000 hectares of land for food production

By Ologeh Joseph

IN a bid to stem growing food insecurity, President Bola Tinubu today announced the creation of National Commodity Board that will review and continuously assess food prices as well as maintain a strategic food reserve that will be used as a price stabilisation mechanism for critical grains and other food items.

Through the board, government will moderate spikes and dips in food prices.

At a press conference today Special Adviser on Media, Mr Dele Alake said to achieve this, the Government will have stakeholders on board to support the intervention effort of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu

The stakeholders are the National Commodity Exchange (NCX), Seed Companies, National Seed Council and Research institutes, NIRSAL Microfinance Bank, Food Processing/ Agric Processing associations, private sector holders & Prime Anchors, small holder farmers, crop associations and Fertilizer producers, blenders and suppliers associations to mention a few.

He said the Government will engage the country’s security architecture to protect the farms and the farmers so that farmers can return to the farmlands without fear of attacks.

Tinubu said the Central Bank will continue to play a major role of funding the agricultural value chain.

To this effect, the Government has earmarked 500,000 hectares of land that will be used to increase availability of arable land for farming which will immediately impact food output.

The new efforts include Mechanization and land clearing- The government will also collaborate with mechanization companies to clear more forests and make them available for farming

The President said there are currently 11 rivers basins that will ensure planting of crops during the dry season with irrigation schemes that will guarantee continuous farming production all year round, to stem the seasonal glut and scarcity that we usually experience.

“We will deploy concessionary capital/funding to the sector especially towards fertilizer, processing, mechanization, seeds, chemicals, equipment, feed, labour. The concessionary funds will ensure food is always available and affordable thereby having a direct impact on Nigeria’s Human Capital Index (HCI). This administration is focused on ensuring the HCI numbers, which currently ranks as the 3rd lowest in the world, are improved for increased productivity” Tinubu said

The President said the cost of transporting Agricultural products has been a major challenge (due to permits, toll gates, and other associated costs).

“When the costs of moving farm produce is significantly impacted- it will immediately be passed to the consumers, which will affect the price of food- the government will explore other means of transportation including rail and water transport, to reduce freight costs and in turn impact the food prices.”

He said
as for storage, existing warehouses and tanks will be revamped to cut waste and ensure efficient preservation of food items.

“We will increase revenue from food and agricultural exports. As we ensure there is sufficient, affordable food for the populace, we will concurrently work on stimulating the export capacity of the Agric sector.”

The government said storage and export will be improved by working with the Nigerian Customs, who have assured us that the bottlenecks experienced in exporting and importing food items as well as intra-city transportation through tolling will be removed.

These are some of the immediate interventions this government will put in place to tackle this crisis.
Principally, one of the major positive outcomes of these interventions will be a massive boost in employment and job creation.

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s mandate to create jobs for our teeming youth population will be achieved with between 5 to 10 million more jobs created within the value chain, working with the current 500,000 hectares of arable land and the several hundreds of thousands more farmlands to be developed in the medium term.

Tinubu said he understands that food and water are the bedrock of survival and therefore is calling on all Nigerians to partner us in ensuring the success of this strategic intervention. This administration is working assiduously to ensure that Nigerians do not struggle with their essential needs.

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