Lock down: FG release guidelines for the movement of agricultural produce

Lock down: FG release guidelines for the movement of agricultural produce
Farm produce

In efforts to curtail food shortages and ensure 2020 crop production season is not hampered as a result of the lock down, the federal government, yesterday, unfolded new strategies to facilitate free movement of food and agricultural produce nationwide.

A meeting held by the Ministers of Agriculture, Defence, Interior and Police Affairs, on response to COVID-19, in Abuja, resolved that government officials at levels worked within the framework of the Federal COVID-19 Emergency Action Response Plans, with relevant law enforcement agencies developing modalities for ensuring easy movement of foodstuff, livestock and farm inputs.

A communiqué issued at the end of the meeting and signed by the Agriculture Minister, Sabo Nanono, also directed all relevant security agencies to work in a coordinated way with clear instructions and directives to law enforcement agents at the various checkpoints. This is to facilitate the passage of vehicles conveying foodstuff, perishable farm products, livestock and farm inputs without compromising national security or health measures.

The meeting also resolved that law enforcement agents should liaise with states and local governments’ officials in determining modalities for facilitating the movement of foodstuff to and from markets during the lockdowns.

They however directed the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and law enforcement agents under the guidance of the four ministers, to set up joint technical task team to draw guidelines for ensuring the safe operations of farmers/grains markets, livestock and poultry markets and dealers and sellers of agricultural inputs during the COVID-19 crisis.

They also directed the Ministry to work with various farmers, crop producers’ associations, poultry associations, and tractor services associations, to design mechanisms for providing special passes to be recognised by the security agencies to facilitate free movement of food stuff, perishables, farm inputs, livestock and fish.

The meeting also stressed the need to engage the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), in the Task force strategy and for the Joint Technical Task Team to work with Commissioners of Police, Commandants of Civil Defence Corps, and other senior military officials in the states to respond rapidly to any reported logjam involving foodstuff or livestock.

They however warned that the opportunity should not be used to transport contraband items including illicit drugs, arms and ammunition.They also resolved that the four ministers convened a Periodic Review Meeting, to assess the situation and advise the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.

They added that the resolutions of the meeting will, in turn, be communicated to the Chairman, Presidential Task Force, Chairman of the Governors’ Forum, and Chairman of ALGON for information and further action.

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