By Doris Esa
The Federal Government says one of the greatest threat to food security in Nigeria is food wastages from farm to table.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Mohammed Abubakar, made this known at a news conference on Friday as part of activities to mark the 2021 World Food Day in Abuja.
Abubakar expressed concern over national food security, saying the ministry has inaugurated the ‘Zero Reject’ programme to improve the quality of the country’s domestic production for both local and international market standard.
“One of our greatest threat to food security in Nigeria is food wastages from farm to table.
“To address this menace we have launched the ‘Zero Reject’ programme aimed at improving the quality of our domestic production to both local and international markets standard.
“Zero Reject production would guarantee the nation’s increase supply of food to the people and revenue from export activities.
“Government will always protect harvest of farmers because that is the way to help them continue to produce and make the country food-sufficient.
“When farmers add value to their produce it will reduce post harvest and also good storage practices will tackle the menace.
“So let us not only focus on producing food but process as well. Government is also looking at this on how to actually add value and processing.
“We are adding value to cassava flour, and with this it will go a long way to reduce importation of wheat flour which Nigeria is one of the biggest importer. We have investors coming to invest in storage facilities,” he said.
Abubakar also underscored the need for the promotion of research and development with technology to achieve food sufficiency in the country.
“On research and development, on my first day at the ministry for the handover ceremony, I did mention that research and development will be paramount issue that we will focus on to boost the sector.
“We are engaged in research and development and even more in terms of intra and international levels, even here, we have been engaging with them, and we intend to push that to higher level because there are various crops and seeds we can improve on to increase yields.
“So definitely, that is a big priority in achieving that, and this goes in line with mechanisation to achieve food security,” he said.
The minister however expressed optimism that with the full commencement of the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP) there will be quality meat for domestic consumption and for export.
“It is our hope that the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP) would address all the problems associated with our livestock production activities and guarantee adequate supply of quality meat for domestic consumption and export for foreign exchange earnings,” he said. (NAN)