Senate passes Bill on food security for second reading

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The Senate on Tuesday passed a Bill to address the nation’s food security problems, after 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,” was sponsored by Senator Theodore Orji (PDP, Abia Central).

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In his lead debate, Orji said the Bill seeks to create basic right to food of acceptable quality and the right of every child to basic nutrition.

The senator said the Bill, when passed into law, would address issues of hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition in the country.

He 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.”

Orji noted that developing countries have been enacting laws at ensuring food security after the World Food Crisis in 2008.

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The senator explained that the Bill seeks “to provide a framework that promotes the elimination and prevention of discrimination of marginalised 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 food emergency, if in his opinion there is a major shortfall in the domestic production or availability of a designated Agricultural commodity,” he said.

Also, the Senate considered and passed for second reading a Rice Development Council Bill, 2019.

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Sponsor of the bill, Senator Enagi Bima, said the proposed legislation seeks to establish a council to revolutionise the entire value chain on rice.

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