MINISTER of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed has said President Muhammadu Buhari’s policy on agriculture saved Nigerians from hunger.
The minister made the claim on Thursday, December 8, at the 9th edition of the ”PMB Administration Scorecard Series (2015-2023)” in Abuja.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the scorecard series was launched in October as a programme to showcase and document the numerous achievements of the Buhari administration.
In an opening remark, Mohammed noted that in spite of the crises affecting the cost of living globally, the administration had done well since assuming office in the area of self-sufficiency in most basic needs.
“I am sure many of us have seen video clips of empty supermarket shelves in the Western world, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Russia-Ukraine war and the economic uncertainty, which have all combined to disrupt global supply chains,” he said.
“Long before these crises, however, President Muhammadu Buhari had, in a statement that has now turned out to be prescient, admonished Nigerians to grow what they eat and eat what they grow.
“Then, many neither understood the importance of that admonition nor appreciated its relevance.
“Well, it turned out that the consequence of that statement made Nigerians look inward and relied less on imports.
“This has saved Nigerians from hunger, especially during the prolonged global lockdown, when exporting nations shut their ports and borders and nations that relied on imports were struggling to meet their needs.”
Mohammed also said the worst could have happened if the country had, during the period of the crises, relied on imports to feed itself.
The minister added that the presidential fertiliser initiative was a successful policy that made the production and distribution of fertiliser to the farmers effective.
According to him, the number of fertiliser blending plants in the country increased from 10 in 2015 to 142, while the number of rice mills also rose from 10 in 2015 to 80 integrated rice mills.
This, he added to have aided food sufficiency.
“Our farmers are now part of our economy. Companies and factories are coming up to manufacture, process and distribute food,” he added.
“If you visit our markets and supermarkets today, what you will see mostly are ‘made-in-Nigeria’ products. This is a huge progress in such a short time.”
Speaking further on the high prices of food items, the minister assured that as the country engaged more in local food production and moved closer to achieving food security, prices would begin to fall.
“For now, we must acknowledge the success we have achieved in the area of food production and in scaling up made-in-Nigeria products’’ he said.
Nurudeen Akewushola is an investigative reporter and fact-checker with The ICIR. He believes courageous in-depth investigative reporting is the key to social justice, accountability and good governance in the society. You can shoot him a scoop via email@example.com and @NurudeenAkewus1 on Twitter.