The Senate has said inadequate planning, inaccurate statistical data and failure to implement existing agricultural policies are responsible for the rising level of food insecurity in the country.
Chairman Senate Committee on Agriculture, Abdullahi Adamu, told journalists in Abuja on Sunday that the recent report of exported rotten yams to the United States of America, was an act of sabotage to government’s economic policies.
He asked that officials of government and individuals linked to the export be arrested and prosecuted immediately.
The Senate described the incidence as a huge minus to government’s effort at export promotion for agricultural goods.
On the increasing level of hunger and food insecurity, Adamu wondered why government could not get its set targets in terms of agricultural production and consumption.
“We are not producing enough food because what we produce at the moment is not really planned. It is not planned in the sense that at a point in time we talk of estimates, the estimates that are not really realistic and authentic .For instance we are proud to beat our chest that we are the biggest yam producer in the world but how much are we producing? Tell anybody how much yam is produced in Benue State, how much in Kogi State, Taraba or in Niger States or in Oyo, Edo states. You are talking of cassava how much cassava is produced. How much is produced in Ogun or Lagos States? Sokoto or in Kwara States. How much cassava is produced in each of the states, what is the quantum produced in Nigeria? What is the target that government has set out for this production? And ditto sorghum, maize, orange, pineapple, mango.”
He observed futher that “We don’t have any set national target. I believe very strongly that as a country to set targets and it is not impossible.
They do it in other parts of the world why can’t we do it here. Sit down, what is our population by the way that we believe this is the true population of Nigeria and the margin we have between the real and apparent of Nigerian and what are the common food items or staple food items. How much of it are we producing and what do we need to produce. How much of it do we need to produce to go into our local industries for processing and how much of it being the excess that we can afford to export. We don’t have the statistics.”
The lawmaker charged the Executive to quickly wake up to its responsibilities as is done in other developed countries.
OWEDE AGBAJILEKE, Abuja