he Senate on Tuesday passed for second reading, a Bill to establish the National Food Reserve Agency designed to avert any form of emergency food crisis in the future.
The Bill is sponsored by Sen. Abdullahi Adamu (APC Nasarawa -West).
Adamu, while underscoring the need for the diversification of the Nigerian economy, said there was need for enabling laws to address the problem of food insecurity.
According to him, the food reserve agency when established, would be responsible for storing food grains and other food commodities for strategic purposes.
“Agriculture plays a pivotal role in the development and growth of every nation.
“Any country seeking to diversify its economy, alleviate poverty, create jobs and ensure food security should prioritise agriculture.
“Nigeria, recognising the important role Agriculture plays, has made efforts to place the sector at the fore by introducing different intervention programmes and policies backed by enabling laws.
“A further step to be taken to ensure food security in our country at all times is to formulate enabling laws that will address food insecurity,” Adamu said.
He added that the food reserve agency when established would implement the overall National Food Reserve Policy to ensure a reliable supply of designated commodities in the country.
The senator recalled that the recent directive by President Muhammadu Buhari to distribute 70,000 metric tons of grains from the grains reserves to cushion effects of COVID-19 pandemic shows clearly how important it was for a country to have a food reserve agency.
He said with the existence of the agency, emergency food crises would be taken care of, especially in the period of a pandemic.
“There will also be a reduction in post-harvest losses as silos, warehouses, equipment, ancillary facilities and other suitable storage facilities will be installed and maintained,” Adamu said.
According to him, with the agency in place, Nigeria will be taken the right step in the right direction as replicated in other African countries such as Zambia and Tanzania.
The Bill, after scaling second reading, was referred by the President of the Senate, Sen. Ahmed Lawan, to the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, for further legislative input.
The committee, which is Chaired by Adamu, is expected to report back to plenary in four weeks.
Also passed for second reading at plenary include: A Bill for an Act to Amend the Nigeria Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act, 2020 by Sen. Folarin Teslim (APC Oyo).
A Bill for an Act to repeal the Banks and other Financial Institutions Act and Re-enact the Banks and Other Financial Act, 2020.
Also passed was a Bill for an Act to Establish the Federal Tertiary Teaching Hospital Development Tax Fund for rehabilitation, restoration, improvement and consolidation of tertiary healthcare delivery in Nigeria by Sen. Musa Sani (APC Niger).