Amid the lockdown imposed by in some parts of the country to curb the spread of COVID-19, the Federal government is seeking collaborative efforts between states, local governments and the security agencies for easy movement of agricultural products across the country.
Recall that the Food Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations had warned that if the movement restriction imposed by various governments affects the movement of agricultural products, it would amount to food crisis.
The Nigerian Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Sabo Nanono in a Communique after a meeting with the Minister of Defence, Bashir Magashi, Minister or Police Affairs Mohammed Maigari Dingyadi and the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbeshola, said it has become necessary for states and local governments to work with the federal government and security agencies to ensure smooth flow of agro-products across the country.
“This lockdown directive has similarly been given by various State governments in an effort to prevent community transmission of this disease within their respective States.
“Hence the need to put in place a strategy in order to facilitate free movement of food and agricultural inputs nationwide to avoid food shortages and ensure 2020 production scason is not hampered”, the Minister said.
Nanono said after the deliberations with the other Ministers, they resolved that security agencies officials at states and federal levels should work within the framework of the Federal COVID 19 Emergency Action Response Plans with relevant law enforcement Agencies to develop modalities of ensurıng easy movement of foodstuff, livestock and farm inputs.
“That the relevant security agencies should work in a coordinated way with clear instructions and directives to law enforcement agents at the various checkpoints to facilitate the passage of vehicles conveying foodstuff, perishable farm
products, livestock and farm inputs without compromising national security or
“That Law Enforcement Agents should liaise with local governments’ and states’ officials in determining modalities for facilitating the movement of foodstuffs to and from markets during the lockdowns.
“That Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and Law enforcement agents under the guidance of the four Ministers set up joint technical task team to draw guidelines for ensuring the safe operations of farmers/grains markets, livestock and poultry markets, dealers and sellers of agricultural inputs during the COVID-19 Crisis” he added.
He further said that they resolved that the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development would work with various famers’ associations, crop producers association, poultry Association, tractor services associations, to design a mechanisms of providing special passes to be recognized by the security agencies to facilitate free hovement of food stuff, perishables, farm inputs, livestock and fish.
He also said that the National Union of Road Transport Workers would be engaged in the Task force strategy.
“That the a Joint Technical Task Team to work with States Commissioners of Police, Commandant of Civil Defence Corps and other senior Military officials in the states to respond rapidly to any reported logjam involving foodstuffs or livestock.
“That this opportunity should not be used to transport contraband items inciuding ilitcit drugs, arms and ammunition.
“That the four Ministers to convene a Periodic Review Meeting to assess the situation and advise the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.
“That the resolutions of this meeting will, in turn, be communicated to the Chairmen, Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Chairman of Governors Forum and Chairman of ALGON for information and further action”, the communique, added.
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