The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar has urged Nigerians to invest in agriculture, stating that the sector should be seen as a business platform and a haven for investment which would sufficiently satisfy the socio-economic needs of its practitioners and grow the nation’s economy.
He stated that the agro-industry is experiencing revitalization with dedicated Federal Government policies towards encouraging farmers and investors as well as grow the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The Minister made this known during the Maiden Edition of the National Agribusiness Stakeholders and Investors Summit and Nigerian Farmers Agribusiness Award with the theme, Promoting Excellence in Agribusiness
For Sustainable Agricultural Development in Nigeria at the Sheraton hotel, Abuja on the 23rd November 2021.
Dr. Mahmood Abubakar said that ‘’ the Federal Government is committed to industrializing the agricultural sector for increased productivity, efficiency and competitiveness across Local and International frontiers ’’.
He pointed out that ‘’ the Federal Government has deliberately designed Agricultural Investment Incentives to support high level private sector participation. While some of these incentives are in form of tax holidays, exemptions and reliefs, there are many that leverage on specific government policies, performances of companies as well as relevant international investment treaties’’.
“We are integrating food production, storage, food processing and industrial manufacturing to establish the linkages necessary in the agricultural commodity value chain”.
“The value chain as a development strategy considers the role of the Players from food production to consumption and designed to empower the smallholder producers, ensure that processors have good quality raw materials and the consumers accept products with satisfaction”, the minister added.
Speaking further, the minister said , “It is remarkable that in the past three (3) years Nigeria has taken a leading role globally in Cassava, Yam, Maize, Palm oil and Rice production. We are currently the largest producer of rice in Africa with a production level of over 9 million metric tons from 2019”.
He Informed that ‘’ the federal government is investing in the development of additional 10 Number large scale integrated rice mills across the country with a combined minimum capacity of 320 Metric Tons per day which when completed will enhance Nigeria’s self-sufficiency in rice production”.
He emphasized the Ministry’s commitment and readiness to regularly engage relevant stakeholders in both the Public and Private sectors of the economy with noble and novel ideas to move Nigeria’s agricultural economy forward.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Permanent Secretary, Dr. Ernest Umakhihe, represented by Director, Special Duties in the Ministry, Mrs Fausat Lawal stated that ‘’the private sector will remain in the lead as process drivers for the agricultural sector, while the government continues to facilitate as well as provide supporting infrastructures, systems, control processes and oversight’’.
He added that the forum will serve as a veritable platform to create awareness, sensitization and interactions among our farmers, agripreneurs, investors, policymakers and other stakeholders on policy reforms, and other developments in the agricultural sector.
In his goodwill message, the President, Feed Industries Practitioners Association of Nigeria, (FIPAN), Mr. Raymond Obiajulu said that the association would cooperate and contribute its quarter toward ensuring that Nigeria is registered in the world’s map in the area of food production. He further said ‘’ there is need to engage the youth in different value chain because they will bring in more innovations to the agricultural sector’’.
Speaking during the summit, the President, Poultry Association of Nigeria, (PAN), Mr. Ezekiel Ibrahim said the meeting will serve as a platform for farmers, investors and other relevant stakeholders to discuss and deliberate on how to revitalize the agricultural sector.
In a separate event at the ministry, Dr. Mahmood Abubakar received in audience the high commissioner of Ghana to Nigeria, His Excellency, Rashid Bawa, who was in the ministry to discuss bilateral cooperation in the agricultural sector.