The Senate on Tuesday commenced legislative work on a critical bill to ensure food security for Nigeria 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 (APC–Nasarawa West).
Leading debate on the bill, Senator Adamu while underscoring the importance for the diversification of the Nigerian economy, explained that there is the need for enabling laws to address the problem of food insecurity.
According to the lawmaker, the Food Reserve agency when established would be responsible for storing food grains and other food commodities for strategic purposes.
“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 prioritize agriculture.
“Nigeria recognizing 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 said.
He stated that the Food Reserve Agency when established, “will implement the overall National Food Reserve Policy to ensure a reliable supply of designated commodities in the country.”
The lawmaker recalled that “the recent mandate of the President during the COVID-19 pandemic to distribute 70,000 metric tons of grains from the Grains Reserves shows clearly how important it is for a country to have a Food Reserve Agency.”
He stressed that “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.
According to Senator Adamu, with the Agency in place, Nigeria will be taking the right step in the right direction as replicated in other African countries such as Zambia and Tanzania.
The bill after scaling second reading was referred by the Senate President, Senator 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.