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COVID-19: AFAN hails Ministers over initiative, resolutions on movement of foodstuff, inputs

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The umbrella body of farmers in the country, All Farmers Association of Nigeria, AFAN, Wednesday, hailed Ministers of Agriculture, Defence, Police Affairs and Interior over initiative and resolutions made on Monday 20th April 2020 in a communique on the smooth movement of foodstuff and farm inputs across the country during the lockdown period.

This was contained in a statement signed by the National President, AFAN, Architect kabir Ibrahim, while appreciating the initiative of the Minister of Agriculture, Muhammad Nanono, for the initiative and effort to convey the meeting that led to the crucial resolutions.

AFAN described the resolutions as germane because it will boost the effective supply of foodstuff and farm inputs across the country, which also would ameliorate the sufferings of Nigerians as they access foodstuff while the lockdown and stay-at-home orders last.

It will be recalled on Monday the four Ministers met on Monday at the headquarters of the Ministry of Agriculture to deliberate on how to facilitate easy movement of foodstuff, livestock and farm inputs across the country within the lockdown period, which they came up with resolutions in a communiqué signed by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Some of the resolutions in the communiqué include security officials at the federal and state levels should work within the framework of the Federal COVID-19 Emergency Response Plan; Relevant security agencies should work in a coordinated way; Law enforcement agents should liaise with local government and state officials; the federal ministry of agriculture and rural development and law enforcement agents; Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development working with various farmers associations, crop producers association, poultry, association, tractor services association to design a mechanism of providing special passes, and others.

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The statement reads in part: “The communiqué issued after the collaborative meeting of the four Ministers of Agriculture, Defence, Interior, and Police Affairs on 20th April 2020 was germane to the seamless flow of food to Nigerians during the lockdown period caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The communiqué was timely and succinct. We applaud the initiative of the Hon Minister of Agriculture to convene the much-desired meeting which gave impetus to the communiqué. AFAN appreciates the effort of the Ministers for a job well done.”

However, the association pointed out that farmers are finding it difficult to have passage to their farms due to the lockdown order, especially the smallholder farmers.

“We wish to implore the Hon Minister of Agriculture and the other Ministers to make an addendum which will give farmers free passage to their farms, instruct the various Security agents across the States to allow the produce, seeds, and inputs to flow seamlessly without delays or multiple taxations and also to follow up on the implementation of all the resolutions.

“The Government will effectively and sustainably do this if it supports the farmer associations to have a database which will facilitate the identification of the Small Holder Farmers”. It added.

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