Chief Audu Ogbeh, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, has said that the federal government has put necessary measures in place to forestall hunger and famine in the country.
He told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja yesterday that “there will be no hunger: it is just that there is heavy export of our grains to North, West and Central Africa.’’
“However, we are taking steps to ensure enough food in the next harvest.’’
The minister said the federal government was also working to develop and establish more dams and lakes to aid irrigation farming in order to have three harvests within one year.
On preservation of excess grains, he said the federal government had provided no fewer than 33 silos with capacity to store over four million tonnes of grains.
“The long term answer to that is to develop more dams and lakes for irrigation so that we have three harvests a year and if West Africa wants food from us, we sell to them.
“We do not have to panic. We have the means to preserve these grains. We have 33 silos, the total capacity of nearly four million tonnes so, we have enough.
“However, we are taking steps; we are assuring Nigerians that there will be no hunger.
“That is why we are here, there will be no need to panic about hunger or famine,’’ Ogbeh said.
Malam Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, recently warned that Nigeria, the largest producer of cereals risked famine from early next year following huge demand in the global market.
He said in a radio interview in Kano that the demand of the nation’s grains in the global market was creating an “excellent environment for the mindless exports of Nigeria’s food across the borders’’.
He said unless this was curtailed, Nigerian markets would be bereft of grains by January.