FRI, NOVEMBER 18 2016-Heineken Lokpobiri, the Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Senator on Thursday said necessary agricultural activities have kicked off to ensure bumper harvest in 2017, assuring that there won’t be famine in the country, but analysts say his statement is not enough to avert the impending food scarcity that is already manifesting in the country.
Many industry watchers say the federal government has left it too late to respond to what they describe as a potential calamity.
The Minister gave the assurance when he visited Dizengoff/ Phinada Farms in Bwari Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory with some media persons around.
According to him, some agricultural activities have kicked off in Kebbi, Jigawa, Kano state and other states in the southeast which will ensure bumper harvest in the country.
He also explained that the alarm of famine was raised by the Presidency following huge grain buy off by traders from the neighbouring countries.
“I can assure that if the farmers in Kebbi, Jigawa are empowered to farm one or two hectares with the expected yield, they are going to multiply and be able to cultivate and produce enough that will always ensure there will be food for Nigerians”.
Lokpobiri said contrary to the views of the presidency, that there is no statistics that there will be famine in January adding that the federal government for now is trying to see how it can buy and store because all the silos in the country are virtually empty.
One analysts told the G&BJournal the minister is only trying to cover up for what is obvious.
It is a reflection of a government that all along have no plans to deflate the economy,” he said.
When asked what the government was putting on ground to boost production, the Minister said “the Anchor Borrower Scheme is already guaranteeing 1 million metric tons of paddies in Kebbi state alone, government is already making credit facilities and farm inputs available through the Anchor Borrower Scheme.
“We are also investing in processing, very soon, we are going to launch over 100 small scale rice mill that will be distributed in the rural Cooperatives to enable farmers not only harvest but process, and they can get much more value from rice production”.