Senate seeks establishment of food reserve agency to avoid emergency crisis

Senate President Ahmed Lawan
Senate, Tuesday, commenced legislative work on a critical bill to ensure food security for Nigerians with the establishment of the Food Reserve Agency to avert any form of emergency food crises in the future.

The bill, which scaled second reading on the floor during plenary was sponsored by Senator Abdullahi Adamu.

While underscoring the importance of the diversification of the Nigerian economy, Senator Adamu called for enabling laws to address the problem of food insecurity.

According to him, the Food Reserve Agency when established will be responsible for storing food grains and other food commodities for strategic purposes.

The lawmaker said, “Agriculture plays a pivotal role in the development and growth of every nation. Any country seeking to diversify its economy, alleviate poverty, create jobs, and ensure food security should prioritise agriculture.

“Nigeria recognising the important role agriculture plays has made efforts to place the sector at the fore by introducing different intervention programmes and policies backed by enabling laws.”

“A further step to be taken to ensure food security in our country at all times is to formulate enabling laws that will address food insecurity,” Senator Adamu added.

He noted explained the agency would implement the overall National Food Reserve Policy to ensure a reliable supply of designated commodities in the country.

The lawmaker stressed that the recent mandate of the President during the COVID-19 pandemic to distribute 70,000 metric tonnes of grains from the Grains Reserves showed clearly how important it was for a country to have a food reserve agency.

“With the existence of the agency, emergency food crises will be taken care of, especially in the period of a pandemic.

“There will also be a reduction in post-harvest losses as silos, warehouses, equipment, ancillary facilities and other suitable storage facilities will be installed and maintained,” Senator Adamu stated.

According to him, Nigeria will be taking the right step in the right direction as replicated in other African countries such as Zambia and Tanzania.

The bill was later referred by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, to the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development for further legislative work.

The Committee which is chaired by Senator Abdullahi Adamu is expected to report back to the upper chamber in four weeks.
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