As the World Food Day is marked globally today, let me appreciate Nigerian farmers, big and small, who are the real heroes of this day. I also thank all Nigerians for their remarkable response to the call to return to the farms. Let me say that any success that we achieve today will be more due to them than to us.
Climate is indeed changing and so must our Agricultural practices. We have initiated policies to respond to the changing climate by embracing climate-smart agriculture.
At our Ministry, the department of Agriculture, Land and Climate Change Management Services is populated with competent hands and professionals who are very knowledgeable in climate change and Agriculture-related issues.
The Advisory Committee on Agricultural Resilience for Nigeria was also established by the ministry was to help develop the National Agricultural Resilience Framework; to facilitate the building of climate resilience and enable climate-smart agriculture in Nigeria.
Climate change adaptation for environmental sustainability and increased food production is a also key component of the Agricultural Promotion Policy – the Green Alternative.
To increase food production, we have plans to install at least 10 earth dams in each state of the federation and dikes in the riverine areas; while we rehabilitate existing non-functional ones. The idea is for fresh food to be available everywhere and every month of the year so we will no longer depend on the rainy season to feed ourselves.
In response to the global call for reduction in Green House gas emission, President Muhammadu Buhari has, in September this year, signed the Paris Agreement which aims at minimizing global warming to the barest minimum degree.
In addition, Nigeria has also aligned itself to the Adaptation of Agriculture in Africa – the AAA Initiative designed to tackle the impact of change in climate on food security in Africa.
The right to food is the right of every human being. Even animals have the right to food. Our policies are designed to guarantee this right.
As we encourage Nigerians especially the young people to go into agriculture, we have to ensure that those who want to go into Agriculture have machinery.
To make agriculture attractive to young people we recognise that this is not the age of hoe and cutlass. We are going to prepare the soil, bring in machinery – tractors and the harvesters, create the dams, and enable proper food processing to minimize post-harvest losses.
We want to make sure that good seeds are available. We are improving on the blends of fertilizer, so the yields are getting better. We will do more rural roads and rural bridges. So the small scale farmer has an easy way of getting his or her produce to the market. With all that done, I can assure you that in few years, we will be nearly having food surplus not food scarcity.
I thank the Nigerian farmer for staying faithful and feeding this nation over the years even when oil and gas; banking; Telecoms and office work became the Vogue to the farmer’s detriment.
I urge Nigerian farmers not to give up. The best times are coming. Cheaper loans are on their way from the Bank of Agriculture. I thank you and God bless you. God bless Nigeria. Don’t lose hope. We are on our way to greatness!
Chief Audu Ogbeh
Hon. Minister of Agriculture & Rural Development
October 16, 2016