The Senate has on Tuesday passed a Bill to address the nation’s food security problems for second reading.
The Bill titled: “A Bill for an Act to make provisions for freedom from hunger and the right to adequate food of acceptable quality, the right of every child to basic nutrition and for connected purposes, 2019” sponsored by Senator Theordore Orji (PDP, Abia Central).
Senator Orji, in his lead debate, said the Bill seeks to create basic right to food of acceptable quality and the right of every child to basic nutrition.
He said the Bill when passed into law would address issues of hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition in the country.
Orji said: “It is important to point out that Food Security means far more than having sufficient food to meet human needs on a national basis.
“Other very important factors include access to safe drinking water, primary health care and environmental hygiene.”
He noted that developing countries have been enacting laws aimed at food security after the World Food Crisis in 2008.
He added that the Bill, seeks “to provide a framework that promotes the elimination and prevention of discrimination of marginalized groups in the access and distribution of food.
“It also proposes the establishment of a Food Security Committee in each State of the Federation, whose functions shall include implementing food security policy and programmes, participating in collection, preparation and dissemination of data on food security and nutrition in the State.
“The Committee shall also be charged with identifying food insecure areas, appropriating programmes and eligible beneficiaries in relation to food security.
“The Bill also gives the President the power to declare a food emergency if in his opinion there is a major shortfall in the domestic production or availability of a designated Agricultural commodity,” he said.
In a related development, the Senate also considered and passed for second reading a Rice Development Council Bill, 2019.
Sponsor of the bill, Senator Enagi Bima, in his lead debate, said the proposed legislation seeks to establish a Council that will revolutionize the entire value chain on rice.
According to the lawmaker, the establishment of a National Rice Development Council will transform the activities of rice farmers, rice processors, millers, researchers, marketers and other important stakeholders across the entire rice value chain in the country.
The two bills after consideration were referred by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, to the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, for further legislative work.