The National Leader of All Progressives Congress(APC),Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has said both State and Federal Governments must subsidise the restart of agricultural activity interrupted by terror and criminality, noting that these actions will serve to tame food scarcity and price inflation in the short run.
Tinubu stated this on Saturday on the occasion of the 23rd to 25th convocation ceremonies of the Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi, Benue State.
Tinubu,who was awarded a honorary doctorate degreeat the event by the university’s Senate and Governing Council,also said terrible people and strong forces want to break Nigeria’s appointment with its greater destiny by attacking agricultural players in the country, thereby creating food scarcity.
The former Lagos State governor said: “We approach a defining moment as a nation. A reckoning of special importance beckons. We must decide whether to give the truest meaning to our national motto “peace and unity” or we allow the agents of destruction and merchants of violence to have their way with us.
“Terrible people and strong forces want to break Nigeria’s appointment with its greater destiny. These people have unleashed terror and violent criminality against us.
“By attacking agricultural players across the nation, they seek not only to ravage the agricultural community, but to visit misery on the rest of the nation through food scarcity and food costs that poor people can simply not afford. In effect, these mean forces seek to impose a food production and distribution crisis on us by disrupting strategically important agricultural areas and activities.”
He stressed the need for agricultural players to feed the nation and fight evil actors at the same time.
“We must decide whether our farmland and grazing areas are to be battlegrounds, or they are to return to their role of feeding the nation,” he said.
The APC chieftain further said: “During this moment of food scarcity, we must launch a programme to expand production of food staples. The concept of ‘agricultural sustainability’ advocates food production in a way that makes the optimal use of existing technical capacities by focusing on the most appropriate genotypes of seeds and livestock for our environment.
“Increased productivity through greater mechanised farming will advance food security. We have one of the lowest incidents of mechanised farming in the world. Governments must work with local communities to establish farm cooperatives that will increase mechanisation of agricultural production. The cooperatives should be structured in a way to finance more productive farm equipment, which cooperative members can use on a time-share basis.”