Governor Mohammed Bago of Niger State and his Gombe State counterpart, Governor Inuwa Yahaya, on Thursday, separately held discussions with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to explore avenues of collaboration with the federal government to enhance food security in the country.
Recall that president Tinubu, in his New Year’s speech, stated the need for investing in agriculture and also revealed the government’s plan to cultivate 500,000 hectares of farmland across the nation for the cultivation of maize, rice, wheat, millet, and other staple crops.
Governor Bago, after his meeting with President Tinubu, stated that Niger State had reserved half of the targeted hectares of land for dry-season farming.
In the preceding weeks, the state had signed agreements with various private and government entities, including the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) and Tata Group of Companies, to enhance agricultural output.
Governor Bago stated ongoing initiatives in his state, “We’re about to do a total of 250,000 hectares of dry-season farming, for which we’ve already signed agreements with some companies for off-take.”
He stated the progress made in the agricultural sector and expressed optimism that the partnership with the federal government would yield positive results in boosting food security.
Despite challenges posed by security concerns in local communities where agricultural activities predominantly occur, Governor Bago affirmed that farmers have returned to the farm.
On his part, Governor Yahaya of Gombe State, after his meeting with President Tinubu, presented a comprehensive scorecard of his administration spanning 2019 to 2023.
“It is the complete content of what we did spanning through 2019 and 2023, which was the first term that I did, covering all the sectors vis-a-vis manifestoes and developmental plan that we did for Gombe State that will take us till 2030.
“We rated ourselves and saw what we did and put them to pictures with proof of actions that we took part in several issues in all the sectors and I said it is a good document that we show to the president what we really are doing in Gombe and where we are ready to go as far as performance is concerned,” he stated.
He updated the President on technical issues, emphasizing the need to address matters after the passage of the 2024 budget into law.
Speaking on collaboration between Gombe State and the federal government, Yahaya highlighted engagements in healthcare and creating an enabling business environment.
He stressed the importance of economic collaboration for progress and expressed readiness to work closely with the federal government to achieve developmental goals.
Governor Inuwa also shared Gombe State’s participation in the federal government’s food security initiative, stating the need for a holistic approach.
“We are prepared, but it doesn’t end with planning or take off. We must be all through from the beginning and to the end, the way it is now, people have to understand that we must modernize.”
“There is a need for machine tools, there is a need for processing; luckily Gombe State is among the states that have been approved to be part of special agric processing zones and we set up an industrial park where we can process all the agricultural produce that we have in the state.
“I think if all states will key in and work in tandem with the FG, we shall easily reach the destination,” he concluded.