The Federal Government has moved to ensure that the herders and farmers crisis does not bring about food crisis in the country by meeting with stakeholders for solutions.
The Senior Policy Adviser (Agriculture Interventions Coordination) in the Office of the Vice-President, Dr Andrew Kwasari, confirmed this in an interview with The PUNCH during a training programme organised for the executives of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria in Abuja on Friday.
The training was conducted by Ms Mara van der Meer, Training and Research Fellow at Clingendael Institute,The Netherlands, and organised by the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue.
Kwasari said they also met with the leaders of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria and conducted a similar training for them.
He said, “The programme aims to avert food crisis in Nigeria. If you recall what happened in 2016 and 2017, we had the worst food crisis. But in 2018, it was stabilised and in 2019 the prices of almost all food commodities have gone down.
“We have seen a lot of stability in food prices. The aspiration of the farmers is to see how they can have peace and return to their farms and grow more food.
“Nigeria has the potential to achieve sufficiency and food security. This is very important and this training is key. These farmers across the seven frontline and Middle Belt states responsible for growing over 80 per cent of our staples like soya beans and maize are enabled and capacitated like their counterparts in MACBAN.
“We are still going forward to an evidenced-based or scientific approach to dialogue, negotiation, peace and to stop potential conflict from escalating. Then, the farmers will be on their farms throughout this rainy season.”
The Country Manager of CHD, Babatunde Afolabi, said, “Food security connotes ability to provide for the teeming population and feed ourselves. When meat production will be at a minimum or may not exist and when farmers will not be able to go to their farms to harvest their crops to feed us, there is a problem and it has a serious impact on food security.”
Meer warned that clashes between farmers and herders could affect the country if not checked.