Chris Steven, Abuja
Federal Government on Tuesday,unveiled a deliberate policy to make Nigeria self sustaining in the production of rice and wheat flour.
Part of its initial move was the inauguration of a national task force to drive the policy, which the Kebbi State Governor,Abubakar Bagudu
was also nominated by the federal government to chair.
Kano and Ebonyi states are also expected to play significant roles in the agricultural programme which promises to show some positive manifestation with the next one year.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, inaugurated the Committee at the State House, where he said government was focused on achieving its diversification policy,hence the concentration on rice and wheat in the interim.
He said,”What we are trying to achieve is to make agriculture our main stay and we are trying to evolve a strategy for our economy.
“A strategy for employment and a strategy for feeding our people. Rice and wheat is our main focus, and we intend to make sure that in one year we can show the world that we are serious.”
Among the terms of reference given to the panel,include to set up production targets for rice and wheat in the participating states.
They will also determine the scope and particulars for government support needed towards the attainment of the set targets as well as consider and proffer the best off-take and marketing arrangements that will encourage maximum effort among the farmers/millers.
The Bagudu led committee would equally determine the rice and wheat value chain deficiencies and recommend solutions for addressing them,including mobilizing farmers and millers in identified target states to engage the CBN Anchor Borrowers’ Programme and other available support facilities and establish timelines for the delivery of goals set by the Task Force.
Bagudu in his acceptance speech, said given the scope of the assignment,they were optimistic that with the current efforts in place across the country,especially the industry, comprising farmers and the increasing interest in investments in agriculture by many well meaning Nigerians they should be able to achieve the target within a short time frame which will lead to the general national aspirations.
Other members of the task force include Governors Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State, and David Umahi of Ebonyi State.
Others are the Minister of State for Agriculture Lokpobiri Heineken, the President of Rice Farmers Association Mallam Aminu Goronyo and the President Wheat Farmers Association Saliu Mohammed.