Dr Tunde Arosanyin, the National Coordinator, Zero Hunger Commodity Association, has called on the Federal Government to give adequate attention to other crop value chains as it had done in the rice sub-sector.
Arosanyin made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Thursday.
He stated that the successes recorded in the rice value chain needed to be replicated in other crops to guarantee sustainable food security in the country.
The national coordinator said reports reaching him indicated that farmers in other crops were shifting to rice production due to the ‘massive support’ from government in that direction.
Arosanyin, however, warned that this could lead to scarcity of other staple food commodities such as beans, millet, cassava and maize in the country in the near future.
According to Arosanyin, rice farmers under the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), have enjoyed a lot of support from government that had greatly enhanced local production of the commodity.
“No doubt, rice production has increased significantly and the country will soon be self-sufficient in its production.
“This is because government has channeled a lot of efforts and resources into developing the subsector, paying less attention to other crop value chains.
“We heard that the Federal Government recently approved N60 billion to support local production of rice, and to also crash the market price of the staple ahead of the festive season.
“This is a good one as consumers will benefit from this gesture.
“But the low attention given to other value chains may lead to the scarcity of such produce in the coming years, if the situation continues,” he said.
NAN reports that stakeholders raised the same concern at a national policy dialogue of the Rice Assured Advocacy Forum (RAAF) in Abuja recently.
But an official of the Federal Ministry Agriculture and Rural Development, Mrs Fatimah Aliyu, said the government was also giving adequate attention to other value chains.
Aliyu, who is the Deputy Director of Rice Value Chain in the ministry, told the participants that government activities in rice production were louder because of the general interest in the commodity.
By Philomina Attah