Minister of Agriculture, Mohammed Abubakar has disclosed that 60,000 metric tonnes of grains are currently domiciled in silos, under the national strategic grain reserve.
This comes as the grain reserve stood at over 79,277 metric tonnes, part of which was distributed by the federal government to cushion the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the most vulnerable Nigerians between 2020-2021.
Abubakar made the disclosure when he featured at the weekly Ministerial Media Briefing organized by the Presidential Communications Team at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Thursday.
The Agric Minister also boasted that through an aggressive agricultural policy, about 3.6 million indirect jobs were created from $1.113 billion (about N461.9 billion) worth of externally funded projects being implemented by the present administration.
He revealed that $538 million was approved for special agricultural processing zones to support inclusive and sustainable agricultural development in Nigeria.
He said another project worth $575 million is being implemented to improve rural access and agricultural marketing in participating states while strengthening the financing institutional base for effective development, maintenance and management of rural roads network.
He gave the participating states as Akwa Ibom, Bauchi, Kano, Katsina, Kogi, Kwara, Kebbi, Ogun, Ondo, Oyo, Plateau and Sokoto.
The Minister noted that the government is also implementing the Value Chain Development Programme Additional Financing (VCDP-AF) 2020- 2024 to enhance, on a sustainable basis, incomes and food security of poor rural households engaged in the production, processing and marketing of rice and cassava.
He revealed that the project is currently being implemented in nine states including Niger, Benue, Ogun, Ebonyi, Taraba and Anambra, Nasarawa, Kogi and Enugu “to scale up the achievement recorded in the original VCDP states.”
But responding to speculations of soaring food prices despite these spirited interventions of the government, Abubakar said they were not peculiar challenges to Nigeria, rather it was a reflection of the global economic value chain system.
He said Nigeria being part of the international community is exploring ways to manage the situation to suit its own peculiarities as a nation.