All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to as a matter of urgency revive the National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) and Guaranteed Minimum Price (GMP) in the country to bring succour and food sufficiency to Nigerians.

AFAN National President, Kabir Ibrahim, made the call in his address while paying a courtesy call on the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Mohammed Abubakar in Abuja.

He said there is no time to waste again in the government’s intervening in the crashing of rice price in the country that is already beyond the reach of a common man despite the trillions of Naira spent on the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) on rice production in the country.

He urged the Federal Government to immediately begin to buy off the displayed processed rice by accredited millers at the CBN and RIFAN event by selling directly to Nigerians at subsidised price to cushion the rising inflated prices of rice and other food items in the country.

Ibrahim noted that the Buhari administration might have made efforts and solid achievements in agriculture via various agric interventions and policies, but Nigerians are complaining bitterly of food shortages, rising cost in food prices, austerity and food inflation which, if not addressed properly and immediately, could defeat all the investments made in making agriculture front burner of the general discourse in Nigeria in terms of food security attainment.

“It is with great pleasure that we come to express our solidarity with you and the Buhari administration over the efforts and solid achievements in agriculture.

“Agriculture is today on the front burner of the general discourse in Nigeria with the promise of ushering the attainment of food security and an eventual sustainable agricultural economy that will also ensure an alternative to the oil dependent economy currently going through several challenges.

“However, the National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) should be resuscitated immediately beginning with the rice displayed in the recent event organised by the CBN and RIFAN.”

The processed rice by accredited millers should be bought directly and sold to the public at subsidised price that’s resuscitating the Guaranteed Minimum Price, too,”

Speaking further, he said, the various interventions by the CBN, donor organizations, the several Acts such as, Bio-safety, Soil science, fertilizer, NASC 2019, PVP 2021, ARCN 2021 and others, such as, NADF, NFRA awaiting assent were all supported by AFAN at the public hearings in NASS.

He, however, suggested that the National Agricultural Technology and Innovation policy (NATIP) recently validated and soon to be launched should be properly implemented with stakeholders like AFAN fully involved making mechanised farming successful in the country.

Ibrahim also explained that all actors in the agriculture space such as the CBN, NALDA and farmers among others must work in synergy to really impact Nigeria’s food system.

“FMARD should spearhead an advocacy drive to get all the 36 States plus FCT Abuja to key into the new agricultural policy (NATIP) by convening a proper council on agriculture around mid-March back to back with the formal launch of NATIP with Mr. President as a Special Guest.

“The Honourable Minister of Agriculture is to host all farmer organisations in a roundtable prior to the launch of NATIP. The HMA is enjoined to reinvigorate the FMARD by making far reaching restructuring and also evolving a formidable monitoring and evaluation programme to ensure proper implementation of the new agricultural policy,” he added.

Meanwhile, AFAN has commended the Federal Government for banning the direct purchase of farm produce by foreign businessmen from Nigerian farmers.

AFAN in a statement by Muhammed Magaji National Publicity Secretary said the ban would protect the local farmers against being ‘shortchanged’ by the foreign businessmen, as such businessmen would, henceforth, have to go through licenced agents to purchase farm produce.

“In view of this, the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) wishes to appreciate the Federal Government for banning the direct purchase of farm produce involving indigenous farmers and foreign Nationals,” the association said in the statement.

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Nurudeen Alimi