FG Plans National School Feed Programme
THE Federal Government will soon introduce National School Feeding programme aimed at enhancing and sensitising school enrolment, address poverty, malnutrition and stunted growth.
Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Arc. Sonny Echono revealed this at a Press Briefing to commemorate the World Food Day Celebration in Abuja. Echono stressed the need to create business opportunities in the rural areas and stimulate the growth of micro small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), adding that this would boost the incomes of farmers.
The Permanent Secretary said social protection exists, when government develop policies and programmes to address economic, environmental and social vulnerabilities to food insecurity and poverty.
According to him, the objective of celebrating World Food Day was to promote effective action to end hunger, malnutrition and poverty.
He stated that in 2012, the Federal Government approved vital incentives and subsides to address the challenges affecting farmers, which necessitated the need for a Growth Enhancement Support Scheme (GES) and equally introduced Dry Season Farming, which significantly increased yield and translated into enhanced income to our farmers.
The Permanent Secretary assured Nigerians that current agricultural policies would grow the agricultural sector since agriculture is now treated as viable and profitable business enterprises.
According to him, the focus on agricultural growth and national food security with the private sector taking the lead in a value chain approach in areas where Nigeria has comparative advantage is a step in the right direction.
Echono stressed that focusing on youth and women in agriculture and developing strategic partnership to stimulate investments in a market led agricultural system, would unlock the nation’s potentials, create wealth and lift people out of poverty.
He explained that government’s on-going efforts are geared towards ensuring national self-sufficiency in staple foods, resuscitating the Cotton and Textile sector, minimizing post-harvest losses, re-introduction of an effective and efficient extension services delivery system. He emphasised the need to develop the fisheries and livestock sector and the importance of linking farmers to markets and promotion of exports through value addition, standardisation and efficient regulatory controls.
He said government is also promoting climate smart agriculture with the use of flood resistant and early maturing seed varieties by adopting and using organic nutrients like fertiliser, provision and use of irrigation facilities and mechanization.