The federal government has reiterated its resolve to reposition agriculture to its pride of place in national development to ensure food security.
The minister of agriculture and food security, Sen. Abubakar Kyari, made this statement at a news conference on Monday in Abuja to mark the 2023 World Food Day.
Mr Kyari said that the theme of the 2023 World Food Day, “Water is Life, Water is Food. Leave no One Behind,” is apt and timely for Nigeria.
He said the theme is in line with the ‘Renewed Hope Agenda’ of the federal government to improve Nigeria’s food systems and alleviate hunger.
Mr Kyari added that the primary aim of the Food Day is to raise public awareness and promote a stronger commitment to increased food production.
According to him, this exercise will ultimately combat world hunger and make wholesome food available for everyone.
The minister emphasised the vital role of water in sustaining life on Earth and its fundamental connection to the nation’s food sources.
He mentioned that enhancing food production while preserving the country’s natural resources like water has become critical to ensure sustainable food and nutrition security.
“However, it is empirically clear that our planet’s water resources are declining due to climate change, urbanisation, and rapid population growth. Such an increasing threat to regular water supply has adversely affected not only food production but also agricultural livelihoods, with developing countries, in particular, bearing a disproportionate burden.
“There must be an urgent synergy between the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Water Resources to ensure adequate irrigation of farmlands and guarantee that food is produced all year round,” he said.
Mr Kyari explained that a clear roadmap has been developed by the ministry in collaboration with the ministry of water resources to optimally harness all water resources available in productive areas.
The minister mentioned that these resources include river basins, dams (around irrigable lands), and other wetlands for multiple cropping cycles.
He stated that the renewed synergy and cooperation between the two ministries have already begun and will be deployed for the 2023/2024 dry season farming.
“This will begin with priority crops, including wheat, rice, maize, and cassava, with an aggressive, sustainable plan for upscaling and replicating the same for other crops, livestock, and fisheries across the federation,” he said.