The country is going into intensive dry-season farming, beginning from December to make sure there is continuous production of food so as to curb food insecurity, Muhammad Abubakar, the minister of agriculture has said.
The minister spoke in Abuja on Thursday when he appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture Colleges, Research Institutes and Universities to defend the 2023 budget.
According to him, the ministry was at the verge of moving into intensive dry season farming to ensure food security in the country, adding that food security is everything else before other security.
He said:“there is slight elevation of commodities, that is a world phenomenon. But we are doing everything on our own to see what we can do to bring down the prices.”
Munir Danagundi, chairman of the committee, said records available to the panel indicated that budget released in 2021 and 2022 had been very impressive.
He said most of the research institutes and universities had satisfactorily utilised the funds allocated and released by government, while commending their effort for the achievement despite some challenges.
Danagundi said the committee was ever ready to assist the ministry to surmount any challenge that could arise in the implementation of the budget.
“We have intervened to solve problems associated with budget implementation in some agencies during our oversight visits to the agencies some weeks ago.
“The committee was generally impressed with the performance of the budget and has drawn the attention of some CEO where some inadequacies and flaws associated with procurement were observed,” he said.
The lawmaker said the attention of the committee was drawn to the protracted strike action by the three unions of the research institutes namely Academic Staff Union of Research Institutes, (ASURI), Senior Staff Association (SSA) and Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU) which started since Oct. 2021.
He said the Committee was curious to know how the affected agencies had been able to implement the budget during the strike.
“It is quite unfortunate that while the government is struggling to fully fund the budget including payment of salaries and allowances, staff are not appreciating the good gesture of the government, Danagundi said.