Punch

Olalekan Adetayo, Abuja

The Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, on Monday presided over a meeting of the Presidential Task Force on Rice and Wheat as part of the Federal Government’s efforts aimed at enhancing food security.

Those who attended the meeting included four state governors — Abubakar Bagudu (Kebbi); Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano); Badaru Abubakar (Jigawa); and Dave Umahi (Ebonyi).

The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun; Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh; and the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, also attended.

Bagudu later told State House correspondents that the meeting reviewed the government’s wheat programme and what could be done to increase production.

He said, “This is the meeting of the Presidential Task Force on Rice and Wheat and we reviewed the wheat programme and what we can do more to support states in order to increase production of wheat.

“We also want to ensure that our farmers who have responded to the call are supported in terms of getting good price for their output in order to sustain their interests.

“We reviewed where we are with rice production. The Acting President noted with satisfaction all the efforts by different stakeholders to attain sufficiency in the shortest possible time.

“The Acting President assured us that the Federal Government would continue to support the drive towards self-sufficiency in food security. He said the government, of necessity, would support the farmers, the millers and other stakeholders involved in the value change.”

When asked to confirm the claim that Nigeria is the second largest producer of rice in the world, the governor said he did not have the data.

He, however, said farmers had responded and about 32 states had shown readiness to increase production.

“I think we have done very well. We have remarkable increase in the number of states that have produced wheat from the last season.

“Last season, we had about five states but today we are hearing reports from about 11 states and the increase in output per state is quite significant as well.

“So, we believe that with sustained trajectory that we are seeing, we will be able to achieve our self-sufficiency,” he added.

Copyright PUNCH.