By Oyibo Salihu
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh has charged state governments to tackle issues of food security from the perspective of citizens’ right to food in order to protect the lives of the people.
Ogbeh, who made the call in Lokoja yesterday while speaking at the Kogi state maiden agricultural summit, 2017 with the theme “Agriculture: Investment Opportunities” and the launch of the “Fair Agricultural Project”, said denial of rights of citizens to ask
questions and hold governments accountable when their policies failed
to address food issues, was the “cause of our problem.”
The minister, who was represented by Prof Gbolagade Ayoola, President Farm and Infrastructure Foundation, noted that if food security was addressed from the perspective of right and policies tailored to meet the food requirements of the people, government policies and programmes would be taken more seriously.
He observed that plausible agricultural projects were often initiated by the Federal Government or external bodies saying that most states had lost touch of the fact that the primary function of agriculture was production of food.
Ogbe commended the Kogi state government for blazing the trail as the
first to adopt the bottom-top-approach in ensuring food security
through the launching of its Fair Agricultural Project (FAP).
Earlier, the state governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, commended the federal government’s giant stride in encouraging massive local production of rice which had facilitated the current sharp drop in the importation of the product to Nigeria.
Represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Dr Mrs Ayoade Folashade Arike, the governor revealed that his administration had keyed into the federal government’s programme of diversification of the nation’s economy toward agriculture.
Bello pointed out that his administration had allowed youth and women participation in agriculture to reduce the alarming unemployment situation in the state , adding that government had also encouraged the exportation of agric products that were in abundant across the state such as cassava, cashew and rice.