The Hon. Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development – Chief Audu Ogbeh was recently invited by the Moroccan Government as Panel Speaker at the 9th edition of the Annual Agriculture Forum which was held in the City of Meknes, Morocco.
The 9th Annual Agriculture Forum is organized by the Moroccan Ministry of Agriculture, Marine Fisheries, Rural Development, Water and Forests. The event has in attendance participants from across Africa and other parts of the world. The theme of the Forum is: “Agriculture, Food Security and Water Challenges” with critical examination of how to enhance efficient water management that respects all aspects of the environment; raising awareness beyond the farmers’ population to public opinion leaders and economic decision makers to guarantee food security in the African continent.
The Hon. Minister featured as speaker at a Roundtable on ‘Water at the heart of Agricultural policies: a cross reference of national experiences’ alongside Ministers of Agriculture from Guinea, Spain, Jordan and Morocco.
Sharing Nigeria’s experience, the challenges and prospects, the Hon. Minister told the gathering: “We are working with the Ministries of Water Resources and Environment in Nigeria to utilize the vast potentials of irrigation infrastructure from existing dams and reservoirs to increase irrigable land for intensive crops production all year round. The ‘Transforming Irrigation Management in Nigeria’ – TRIMIN is an on-going $560Million World Bank co-founded project with the objectives of improving access to irrigation and drainage services and to strengthen institutional arrangements for integrated water resources management and agriculture service delivery. We are also promoting Good Agricultural Practices – GAP for optimal water utilization and introducing drought-resistant crops.”
Apart from actively participating at the Ministers’ Roundtable as Panel speaker and sharing Nigeria’s experience and programmes on efficient water management for Agricultural production, the Hon. Minister – Chief Audu Ogbeh also sought to deepen Nigeria’s involvement in the Adaptation of African Agriculture – AAA Initiative earlier adopted at the conclusion of the high-level meeting held in Marrakesh on September 30, 2016 by 20 ministers and 27 delegations including Nigeria.
The Hon. Minister held discussions and meetings with the Moroccan Government and leading Agricultural organizations during which he compared notes and sought collaborations for improved research in Agriculture, efficient water management/irrigation technology for increased productivity, Agro-technology sharing and exchange; and further strengthening the on-going Nigeria-Morocco fertilizer partnership.
While in Morocco, the Hon. Minister – Chief Audu Ogbeh also embarked on a visit to the Al Akhawayn University located in the city of Ifrane – Morocco; and was taken on a guided tour of the institution’s departments and on-going clean energy project and soil testing laboratory by the University President – Prof. Driss Ouaouicha.
The Minister who was accompanied on the trip by the Director, Rural Development – Engr. Mudasiru Akeju; Director, Fisheries & Aquaculture – Mr. Mua’zu Mohammed; Deputy Director, Quarantine and Head, Efficiency Unit(Green Alternative) – Dr. Aisha Ndayako-Mohammed; Senior Technical Adviser on Investment Promotion & Agribusiness to Hon. Minister – Mr. Irede Ajala and Mrs Aishat Onusi, Technical Adviser on New Media, also held several productive meetings with foreign investors who are keen on investing in Agriculture in Nigeria in the areas of agro-processing, machinery and post -harvest loss management and job creation etc.