The Federal Government has assured of its commitment to mitigate effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on food supply chain in the country.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr Sabo Nanono, made this known at the COVID-19 and Food Supply Chains Inter-Ministerial Policy Response meeting on Monday in Abuja.
Nanono said the Ministry of Agriculture was already working with relevant government agencies to ensure appropriate food policy response.
He said that part of the response was to ensure unhindered movement of food items and that supply chains were open and functional.
The minister also said that efforts were being made at incorporating Food Safety Management Systems(FSMS) to eliminate or reduce risk of food surfaces and food packaging materials becoming contaminated.
According to him, part of the policy response is support for the most vulnerable through release of assorted food through the safety net intervention.
“The ministry has developed immediate, short and medium term plan to help in gathering momentum for post COVID-19 recovery plan, with agriculture providing the main thrust for diversification.
“The meeting is expected to discuss issues, challenges and innovative solutions to ensure easy access for the food supply chain in line with broader government objective of ensuring a healthy and food secured nation,” he said.
The minister expressed dismay that the threat of the pandemic to domestic food supply chains were emerging in many countries.
According to him, the World Bank recently reported real Gross Domestic Product(GDP) is projected to fall globally.
He said that the projection indicated that the pandemic could spark food security crisis in Africa with agricultural production potentially declining in 2020 and 2021.
“The government of President Muhammadu Buhari has devised a coordinated response using multi-MDA approach to mitigate threat to food security and access to agricultural inputs and food supply,” he said.
Nanono assured that the ministry would continue to work with relevant stakeholders to ensure that cultivation of food crops was hitch free during the rainy season, and uninterrupted food supply chain among others.
It was reported that the meeting was attended by the Minister of Defence, Retired Gen. Bashir Magashi, Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola and Minister of Police Affairs, Mohammed Dingyadi, among others.