Laolu Akande, Abuja: The Federal government has established a National Rice and Wheat Task Force to set up targets that will yield comprehensible and self-evident results in rice and wheat production in the country.
“What we are trying to achieve is that agriculture is our main stay and we are trying to evolve a strategy for our economy, a strategy for employment and a strategy for feeding our people,” Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, stated today at the Presidential Villa at the inauguration of the Task Force.
Osinbajo said the need to feed our population is the focus of the Buhari administration. “Rice and wheat is our main focus, and making sure that in one year we can show the world that we are serious.”
Emphasizing on the need to develop strategies to rejuvenate the whole value chain, he gave the following as terms of reference to the panel;
i. to set up production targets for rice and wheat in the participating states;
ii. to determine the scope and particulars for government support needed towards the attainment of the set targets;
iii. to consider and proffer the best off-take and marketing arrangements that will encourage maximum effort among the farmers/millers;
iv. to determine the rice and wheat value chain deficiencies and recommend solutions for addressing them;
v. to mobilize farmers and millers in identified target states to engage the CBN Anchor Borrowers’ Programme and other available support facilities;
vi. to establish timelines for the delivery of goals set by the Task Force.
Responding, the Chairman of the Task Force and Governor of Kebbi State, Alhaji Atiku Bagudu, thanked the Vice President for the consideration and stated that the disconnect between farmers and millers needs to be addressed. He added that the two bodies in the value chain need to be mobilized for maximum results.
Members of the task force include Governors of Kebbi State Senator Abubakar A. Bagugu, Dr. A. U. Ganduje of Kano State, and Engr. David Umahi of Ebonyi State. Others are the Minister of State for Agriculture Lokpobiri Heineken, the President of Rice Farmers Association Mallam Aminu Goronyo and the President Wheat Farmers Association Saliu Mohammed.