Senator Anyim Pius Anyim
Senator Iroegbu â€¨
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, has said commercialisation of the agricultural sector would boost food security in the country.
Anyim, who stated this when the President of Christian Council of Nigeria (CCN), Most Rev. Emmanuel Udofia, led other members of the organisation to visit him in his office, said the federal government has made agriculture and food security one of the priority, in line with the Transformation Agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan.
He said: “But more so the Transformation Agenda of Mr. President had also focused on commercialising agriculture; you can agree with me that except agriculture is commercialised, indeed we cannot achieve food security.
“And the idea here is that the commercialising of agriculture will actually lead to commercial production in that sector, the consequences of which will guarantee enough production of food, indeed more than we required, and indeed encourage export of the same.”
He noted further that: “Under this programme, the President had therefore classified certain basic foodstuffs as those that must no longer being imported into the country...and has given benchmark of the next three years that by then rice will no longer be imported into the country.”
The SGF said he was humbled that the church had taken the responsibility of bringing forward the issue of food security and peace building.
According to him, the issue of food security is a regeneration of the responsibility of the church and all the citizens of the country must be part of it.
“Let me emphasise that government will be very willing to partner with your group in the area more particularly in the area of skills acquisition. With respect to farming, the area of provision of high yielding seedlings and indeed the area of providing farm implements at a very subsidied cost.
“The course you have embarked on is a very worthy and noble one, is the one that capture the essence of our being because without food security, obviously there cannot be social security,” he said.
Earlier, Udofia had said they were in the office of the SGF to inform the federal government of their advocacy programme, title: “Ecumenical Food Security and Peace Building.”
He explained that the programme was to sensitise religious leaders to take the campaign on food security as a serious task so that by the grace of God, Nigerians will not die of hunger.
“The Christian Council of Nigeria goal is to campaign and foster the furtherance of the cause of the right to food, to enhance capacity of individuals to be able to preserve food in Nigeria. And to propagate the causes of food insecurity,” he said.
The CN President also said the programme would propose policy options to tackle the situation of food insecurity which include the development of agriculture to attain self-sufficiency in stable food production.
He also added that this must be backed up by political will using a widely acceptable framework and well articulated set of programmes and strategies borne out of consensus.
“The programme will mobilise about 10,000 religious leaders among which are about 4,000 women and as far as possible leaders of Muslim communities to actively lobby for the right to food in Nigeria,” he said.