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Food Importation: PDP Accuses Buhari, APC of Plot to Punish Nigerians

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Peoples Democratic Party
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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has accused President Muhammadu Buhari of plot to punish Nigerians through his recent policy directive to withdraw foreign exchange on food importaion.

PDP said the directive to the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN) was “mean, ill-timed and completely against the wellbeing of Nigerians.

The party’s spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan in a statement in Abuja said   the presidential directive would “worsen food scarcity, exacerbate the already harsh economic situation and the general depression, frustration, resentment and despair in our country under President Buhari’s watch.

” 
It said it was appalling that instead of bringing solutions to the depreciating living conditions in the country, the President was rather imposing more suffering by ordering the removal of subsidy on food even when it was manifestly clear that he had failed on all fronts to achieve any level of food security despite the huge resources available to his administration.

“By the directive, the Buhari Presidency and the All Progressives Congress (APC) have again demonstrated their insensitivity towards millions of Nigerians who are already suffering acute hunger and starvation due to severe food shortage and high prices brought by President Buhari’s misrule., the party said.”
“The PDP states strongly that Nigerians do not, in any way, deserve such suffering being foisted on them by such directive on food.

“Such situation will only breed further despondency among our citizens, heighten our security challenges and put more pressure on compatriots, many of who, in the face of suffering occasioned by APC misrule, are resorting to suicide and slavery mission as options, ” the statement added. 
 
The PDP said it was a complete disservice to Nigerians for the government to place restrictive directives on food for the masses, while interests condoned by the same administration were frittering the people’s common patrimony.
“The PDP wants to believe that while Mr. President enjoys the comfort, luxury, sufficiency and safety of the government house, he is barely aware of the sufferings of Nigerians.
“Our party therefore, charges President Buhari to immediately rescind his directive before it inflicts more damage on the polity.”

Agriculture

Epe LG Empowers 200 Farmers to Boost Food Production

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Ms Surah Animashaun, the Chairperson, Epe Local Government, has empowered 200 farmers with cash and other agricultural inputs to boost food production in the area.

Animashaun distributed the agricultural inputs to the beneficiaries at the council secretariat in Epe on Thursday in Lagos.

She said the initiative was aimed at supporting farmers in order to boost food production in the various communities of the council.

Animashaun said the farmers who benefitted from the gesture are expected to be considerate in their price fixing after harvest to ensure the affordability of food for all Nigerians.

“With the economic situation now and the support being giving to you, farmers should be reasonable in fixing prices after harvest to ensure that ordinary Nigerians source food at a more convenient price nationwide.

“We are here to give you support for your farming activities today, we expect that you reciprocate tomorrow by selling at a more affordable price to the people tomorrow,’’ she said.

Animashaun explained that each of the benefiting farmers received N50,000 and essential grains such as maize and sorghum.

She said the council would continue to support the farmers for them to be strong in farming activities.

Animashaun also used the medium to highlight her administration’s ongoing efforts in the extension of palliatives to other sectors of the economy.

She urged the communities in the area to maintain harmony, love, hospitality, and compassion, particularly in the face of the present economic challenges.

Also speaking, Mr Sikiru Owolomoshe, the Vice Chairman of the council, urged the farmers to take advantage of the gesture to improve their activities in order to encourage others.

Mr Olayinka Kazeem, the Secretary of Epe Farmers and a beneficiary, expressed gratitude to the council chairperson and her management.

“This is the first time we are witnessing this kind of programme and it is coming at a critical period when many states are facing food shortage,’’ he said.

He assured that the beneficiaries would do their best to ensure the objective was achieved.

Mr Ahmed Surakat, the Public Relations Officer of Lagos State Fishermen Cooperative Association, and Mrs Kafilat Animashahun beneficiaries, extended their gratitude to the council chairman for her unwavering support to farmers.

Earlier, the President of the Epe Farmers Union, Mrs Aminat Shabi, lauded Animashaun for the comprehensive support to other agricultural value chain such as fish farmers and livestock producers.(NAN)

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Agriculture

Food Security Achievable Through RAAMP, Says National Coordinator 

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By Tony Obiechina, Abuja 

The Rural Access and Agricultural Marketing Project (RAAMP) has been described as an appropriate and very effective means of realising food sufficiency and security across the country.

The National Coordinator of RAAMP, Engr Aminu Bodinga Mohammed who made the assertion  during the 7th Joint World Bank and French Development Agency Implementation Support Mission of RAAMP at the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre, Abuja, pointing out that most urban centers derive their supply of food from farms, which are located at the rural communities.

His words: “the primary objective of RAAMP is to improve rural roads and trading infrastructure through to boost food production.

Therefore the successful implementation of this project could go a long way towards guaranteeing food sufficiency and security across the country”.

He solicited for concerted efforts by all stakeholders to ensure an all-round success of the project.

Aminu noted that the mission was to evaluate the current implementation status, milestones as well as challenges faced by the 19  states participating in the project and announced that arrangements had reached an advanced stage for the commencement of civil works on agro-logistics centers (ALCs) latest by September, 2024 with 23 major contracts that would be awarded across the states.

ALCs refer to market hubs that have been prioritised for transformation to ultra-modern standards at various locations across the country , notably in rural communities to empower and enhance the livelihoods of the people.

Also speaking, the Task Team Leader of the World Bank,  Mr. Rakeesh Tripathi hinted that a scale-up was being mooted for the project but emphasized that only states which must have  established and operationalised the Rural Access Road Agency (RARA) and State Road Fund (SRF), backed up with the required standing on counterpart funds would be eligible to access the scale-up funds. 

He therefore advised all states to take advantage of the mission and get the needed support to tackle every challenge facing their State Project Implementation Unit (SPIU), adding that all the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory would be encouraged to embrace the scale-up project.

Highpoints of the exercise were presentations by the State Project Coordinators of the respective participating states, question and answer sessions, comments and observations, among other inputs by the stakeholders.

The Task Team Leader of the French Development Agency, AFD; Consultants from the World Bank; the Federal Project Management Unit, FPMU as well as State Project Implementation Units, SPIUs of RAAMP also attended the mission.

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Agriculture

NCP Approves Repositioning of Agriculture Bank

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By Tony Obiechina, Abuja 

The National Council on Privatisation (NCP) has given its nod to the recommendations aimed at repositioning the Bank of Agriculture (BOA) to ensure food security for Nigerians.

Chaired by the Vice President, Sen. Kashim Shettima, the NCP approved the recommendations from the committee on BOA during its second meeting of 2024 held on Wednesday, April 24, 2024, at the Presidential Villa Abuja.

In his address at the meeting, the Vice President emphasized the importance of optimizing BOA as part of the administration’s agenda to provide food security for the nation.

He urged the committee to engage professionals with integrity to manage the process effectively.

Presenting the committee’s report, the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Mr. Wale Edun, who is also the Vice-chairman of the NCP, highlighted the decision to reposition BOA for efficiency and effectiveness. He expressed confidence that the recommendations would guide the Council in revitalizing the Bank of Agriculture and positioning it globally.

One of the Key recommendations includes upgrading the Bank’s ICT infrastructure to automate processes and ensure accountability.

Recall that in 2023, an 8-member inter-ministerial team was set up by the NCP to review the state of affairs at BOA, given its critical role in agriculture and the administration’s commitment to food security. 

Additionally, in 2016, the NCP approved collaboration between the Bureau of Public Enterprises and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, along with the Federal Ministry of Finance, to restructure and recapitalize BOA.

According to a statement by BPE Head of Public Communications, Amina Tukur Othman on Friday, the BOA, formerly known as Nigeria Agricultural Cooperative and Rural Development Bank, waa established in 1992. 

It is owned by the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN), with the Ministry of Finance Incorporated (MOFI) holding 60% and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) holding 40%. The Bank is supervised by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security (FMAFS).

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