Barely two weeks after the visit of President Muhammad Buhari to Plateau State, has the state governor, Simon Lalong been appointed as a member of the National Food Security Council.
The council has only six states governors with proven commitment to agriculture as members working in collaboration with seven federal ministries, the CBN and other security agencies and is chaired by no less a personality than the President.
President Buhari had commissioned 400 numbers of tractors while on the two day working visit to Plateau.
The other state governors in the council are the governors of Kebbi, Lagos, Delta, Taraba Ebonyi and the seven cabinet ministers are that if Agriculture and rural development, Finance, interior, industry, trade and investment, water resources, environment and budget and National planning.
The broad objectives of the Council includes developing sustainable solutions the farmers-herdsmen clashes; Climate change and Desertification and their impact on farmlands; grazing areas and lakes amongst others. It will also take interest in regional and global policies and trends that bear implications for food security in Nigeria.
Plateau State commissioner for information, Yakubu Dati, in a statement recalled that at the inception of the Lalong administration in 2015, the governor and his team saw the need to promote the agricultural sector for the development of the state and its people by making agriculture one of its policy thrusts.
He said the Farmer-friendly governor did not just talk but swung into action by immediately releasing funds to the state agricultural development program which brought back life to the agency which had become inactive.
He said, “Extension service which was almost extinct in the State was resuscitated With the employment of 400 adhoc staff to guide farmers on best agricultural practices.
“In addition, the payment of counterpart funds attracted national and international collaboration that has further enhanced agricultural production.”
The commissioner said due to the interventions of the Lalong administration, the World Bank through the state Fadama three additional funding is expecting two crop value chain programmes in the state.
“Modern tomato farming is on the increase with a lot of greenhouses springing up all over the state as well as improvement in rice farming.
Another giant stride in the sector is that potato farming is receiving a boost which has resulted in Plateau being selected as the only state to run the national potato value chain,” the commissioner further stated.
Dati explained that it was in furtherance of the desire to encourage a robust agricultural sector, that th governor created the enabling environment and sponsored the first ever farmers’ summit in the state which resulted in in far reaching resolutions.
He said parts of the summit outcome is the acquisition of 400 tractors by the government for a farmer ownership scheme at a subsidized rate a project he said is bound to elevate Plateau as the most mechanized state in the country as it now boasts of over 800 functional tractors in its fleet.
He added: “The moribund Panyam fish farm is now a delight despite several setbacks as Governor Simon Lalong ensured it came back to life with production in full gear.
“Fertilizer being one of the major inputs in crop production propelled the Lalong administration to resuscitate the moribund Bokkos fertilizer blending plant .
“It is now one of the biggest plants in the country which has supplied fertilizer to not only the state but other States in the North Central & North Eastern Regions of the country.”
The commissioner said as things stand today, the investment in the agricultural sector in Plateau state has gone beyond subsistence levels to a flourishing value chain enterprise with opportunities waiting to be tapped.