The Nigerian government has established a National Rice and Wheat Task Force to set up targets that will yield “comprehensible and self-evident results” in rice and wheat production in the country.
“What we are trying to achieve is that agriculture is 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,” Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, said Tuesday at the Presidential Villa at the inauguration of the Task Force.
Mr. Osinbajo said the need to feed Nigerians remained the focus of the Buhari administration.
“Rice and wheat is our main focus, and making sure that in one year we can show the world that we are serious.”
Emphasizing the need to develop strategies to rejuvenate the whole value chain, the vice-president gave the following as terms of reference of the panel;
i. To set up production targets for rice and wheat in the participating states;
ii. To determine the scope and particulars for government support needed towards the attainment of the set targets;
iii. To consider and proffer the best off-take and marketing arrangements that will encourage maximum effort among the farmers/millers;
iv. To determine the rice and wheat value chain deficiencies and recommend solutions for addressing them;
v. To mobilize farmers and millers in identified target states to engage the CBN Anchor Borrowers’ Programme and other available support facilities;
vi. to establish timelines for the delivery of goals set by the Task Force.
Responding, the Chairman of the Task Force and Governor of Kebbi State, Abubakar Bagudu, said the disconnect between farmers and millers needed to be addressed.
He added that the two bodies in the value chain also needed to be mobilized for maximum results.
Members of the task force include Governors Bagugu of Kebbi, Umar Ganduje of Kano, and David Umahi of Ebonyi.
Other member of the panel, according to a statement by Laolu Akande, the Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Media and Publicity, are the Minister of State for Agriculture, Lokpobiri Heineken, the President of Rice Farmers Association, Aminu Goronyo and the President, Wheat Farmers Association, Saliu Mohammed.