Improved Aquaculture Sub-Sector will increase Domestic Production and Grow the GDP – Nanono

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Muhammad Sabo Nanono has reaffirmed the Federal Government’s commitment towards improving the Aquaculture sub-sector, increase domestic production of fish to reduce importation of frozen fish into the country and growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the Agric sector. He stated that the Ministry under the Present Administration is pursuing a holistic approach to the development of Fisheries and Aquaculture Sub-Sector through the diversification Programme of Mr President along the value chain process, adding that development of the nation’s fisheries and aquaculture sector is highly critical to this.

Speaking during the International Dialogue on the Transformation and Future of Aquatic Food Systems in Nigeria, held today at the Chelsea Hotel, Central Business District, Abuja, the Minister who was represented by the Director, Fisheries and Aquaculture Department, Dr Ime Umoh. He said ‘’the important role of fish in food and nutrition security cannot be overemphasized, being a good source of protein for a human diet containing essential amino acids required by humans in the right quantities which are usually lacking in most national staple foods; Fish, therefore, remains a valuable nutritional supplement and a virile candidate for addressing food and nutrition security in Nigeria’’.Nanono stated that despite the potential impacts of the fisheries and aquaculture resources, the sector is however confronted with numerous challenges including the high cost of inputs, use of unimproved breeds in aquaculture, need for improved access to finance.

He pointed out that the ministry is willing to engage and partner with all stakeholders for the development of the sector for economic development, wealth and job creation as well as food and nutrition security. The minister informed that ‘’ the vision of Mr President is to grow Nigeria’s Agricultural Sector to achieve a hunger-free Nigeria through Agriculture that drives income growth, accelerates achievements of food and nutritional security, generates employment and transforms Nigeria into a leading player in global food/fish market to create wealth for millions of practitioners’’.He expressed optimism that ‘’ the outcome of this dialogue will feed into the development of a consolidated country report.

Hence, as you subject every item on the agenda to scrutiny through the various break out groups, to identify key recommendations that will bring notable transformation to the aquatic food systems of the country’’.He noted that Ministry has played a key role in addressing aquatic food systems in Nigeria notably amongst are: Backward integration policy of Government to encourage fish importers to go into commercial aquaculture (pond and cage culture) of fish and shrimp farming, the establishment of fish farm clusters nationwide, the establishment of fish feed mills in each of the six (6) geo-political zones of the country. Other Programme includes Lake Enhancement programmes for stock assessment and stocking of water bodies nationwide to increase their productivity, capacity building of farmers, extension workers, women, and youth with the provision of starter packs for job and wealth creation, among others, Nanono added.

The Minister appreciated the commitment of the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the entire Ministry team towards organizing the Programme and ensuring that it becomes a reality.In his welcome address, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr. Ernest Umakhihe, who was represented by the Head of Aquaculture and Deputy Director, Fisheries and Aquaculture Department, Mr Istifanus Pwaspo stated that “fish is one of the cheapest and predominant sources of animal protein in Nigeria. It accounts for about 50% of total animal protein consumed in Nigeria with a per capital consumption of 17.5 Kg /person/year. In this regard, the total demand for fish is 3.6 million tons annually while Nigeria is producing 1.1million tons from all sources (Aquaculture, artisanal and Industrial sectors) leaving a deficit of about 2.5 million tons to be supplemented by importation”.Dr. Umakhihe pointed out that “It is estimated that over 10 million Nigerians are actively engaged in primary and secondary fisheries operations.

The contribution of fisheries to the National Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is about 4.5%”.In his remark, the Country Director, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), Dr. Michael Ojo stated that Nigeria has seen significant growth in production over the past 18 years ‘’ but we still have a large supply deficit limiting access for consumers and potentially contribute to the relatively high cost of aquatic foods.Dr. Ojo disclosed that ‘’ the factors that constrain the supply of safe and affordable fisheries products to meet consumer demand are multiple and reside at many different points in the supply chain’’

PHOTOS-NCARD21: FG Establishes a Portal for 10 Million Farmers, to Ensure Effective Monitoring of Agricultural Interventions.

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Muhammad Sabo Nanono has revealed that the Ministry has established an online portal to ensure efficient and effective monitoring of Federal Government intervention in the Agric sector. The initiative would capture the biodata of the farmers and link it with Geographical information of their farmed plots, crops, and the volumes of production in the country.   

Speaking during the opening ceremony of the 44th council meeting of the National Council on Agriculture and Rural Development (NCARD), held at the International Conference Centre, today, Thursday 17th June 2021, Alhaji Muhammad Sabo Nanono stated that ‘’ Although we initially set out to capture the data of 2.4 million farmers across the country, the results from the exercise have encouraged the Economic Sustainability Plan Team to expand the data capture to 10 million farmers’’

 The Minister stated that the database will be “a platform for the Federal Government interventions going forward, putting an end to ghost schemes and other unscrupulous practices in the agricultural industry”.
 Alhaji Sabo Nanono noted that ‘’ a major hallmark of our agricultural interventions is inclusiveness. We have catered for the youths, women, and many demographic considerations in our implementation strategies’’.
 Nanono explained that  ‘’ as a stop-gap intervention, we launched the Agric for Food and Jobs Program, originally conceived as an input loan for smallholder farmers across several commodities including maize, rice, cotton, groundnut, sorghum, cowpea, soybean, sesame, cassava and oil – palm’’.

 He further said ‘’ the scheme brought into a partnership with the Central Bank of Nigeria, Commodity Association and Agricultural Platform Companies for effective facilitation. This we believe will not only improve production significantly but also aid in the off – taking of produce while providing input at a reduced price due to economy of scale’’.
 The Minister noted that  ‘’ the challenges brought by the emergence of the COVID – 19 Pandemic, floods, and insecurity has galvanized the government into setting up a necessary structure to address the infrastructural deficiency, technology gaps, security challenges, and extension inadequacy. This approach is believed to be the right one for achieving our desired economic diversification and national development’’.
He noted that the NCARD would promote the existing policies, programmes, and projects at the national and sub-national levels for the purpose of entrenching synergy, best practices, entrepreneurship, livelihood, and growth in the sector.Nanono reemphasized that ‘’ agricultural productivity can only improve through the mechanization of production activities. In our effort to improve the agricultural production profile of the country, we have entered into a partnership with the government of Brazil through one of their foremost technology transfer, the Fundacao Getulio Vargas (FGV)’’.
He further said that  ‘’ this partnership has yielded an Agricultural Mechanization loan to the tune of Nine Hundred and Ninety-Five Million euros. This shall be granted to Nigerian entrepreneurs to establish service centers across all the 774 Local Government of the country, selling services to all categories of farmers and thereby helping to improve their productivity’’.
‘’The services centers shall be either a Type 1, supporting production activities or Type 2, supporting processing and packaging activities’’, he said. 
The Minister informed that  ‘’ the ministry in collaboration with the Nigerian Export Promotion Council has been working to exploit a strategic advantage in the production of commodities like sesame, hibiscus, cotton and sorghum to improve production protocols to conform with internationally acceptable standards, maintenance of an exporters’ directory and exporter certificate verification ‘ portal’’.
He stressed that ‘’ the ministry has embarked on increasing the number of available extension workers in the different aspects of our operations. This year, about One Thousand Two Hundred Extension Workers have been trained ‘’.The Minister highlighted that ‘’ with the green imperative project launching soon, there is a component of it that will see the training of extension workers in agricultural mechanization and other important aspects of crop and livestock operations’’.
He pointed out that  ‘’ the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP), has been adjudged worldwide to be a well-conceived project which seeks to transform our livestock sector from the nomadic – dependent sector into an organized ranching one.

He added that ‘’ to this end,22 state and Federal Capital Territory have registered with the NLTP Office .seven of these 10 states have also earmarked about 19 Grazing reserves for the implementation of the NLTP, with a total land size of approximately 400,000 hectares”.
According to him, it is, therefore, safe to say, that NLTP, when fully implemented will bring an end to the incessant clashes between the farmers and herdsmen at the same time introduce the herders to the modern way of raising cattle, with all added benefits of improved feeding, animal and human, genetic improvement, value addition and better socio-economic standing for all participants’’.

In his remarks, the Minister of Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), Alhaji Mohammed Musa Bello, represented by the Special Assistant, Prof. Mohammed Usman, said that the theme of this year’s Council meeting ” Agriculture and Food Security in the face of COVID – 19, Floods and Insecurity is apt enough and a reminder to the effect that we are yet to win the fight on COVID – 19 Pandemic. He added there is a need for robust interaction and ideas among stakeholders on how to reposition the Agricultural sector.

In his welcome address, the Minister of State, Agriculture and Rural Development, Hon. Mustapha Baba Shehuri said that ‘’ Nigeria economy had its GDP contracted for two consecutive terms of the second and third quarter in 2020; leading to recession. It was in the 4th quarter of 2020 that the economy returned to positive growth with GDP expanding to 0.1% from the contraction of 3.6% (negative growth) experienced in the 3 quarter. The feat was achieved through the contribution mainly attributed to the performance of agricultural sector’.

Hon Baba Shehuri observed that ‘’ as matter of fact, local production of maize, rice, cassava, potatoes, yam, and other staples steadily increased, it is also the same story in livestock, fisheries and dairy sector. The fact that we did not import food during the lockdown era was a testimony that we can grow what we eat and eat what we produce’’.  In his goodwill message, the Chairman, House Committee on Agricultural Production and Services, Hon. Muntari Mohammed Dandutse stated the National Assembly would fast-track the bills been raise as an outcome or resolution of the NCARD towards achieving food security and job creation.

While giving a vote of thanks, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr. Ernest A. Umakhihe, thanked the stakeholders for their commitment and technical support during the 44th Regular Meeting of the National Council on Agriculture and Rural Development. 

FG Convenves NCARD as Stakeholders Strategize to Mitigate Global Hunger Concerns on 20 Nations.

The 44th Regular Meeting of the National Council on Agriculture and Rural Development ( NCARD), kicked off on Tuesday 15th June 2021 in Abuja with the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Dr. Ernest A. Umakhihe declaring the Technical Session open. According to Dr. Umakhihe, the NCARD which theme is ” Nigeria’s Agriculture and Food Security in the face of COVID – 19, Floods and Insecurity ” is geared primarily towards assessing the effects of extant policies and programs, fine-tuning existing strategies, and shaping initiatives for agricultural development in Nigeria.

This he said is so because the arising challenges from COVID- 19, floods, and Insecurity has conveniently placed Agriculture as a springboard for socio-economic recovery, stabilization, and growth in the face of food Insecurity.In a welcome address by the Federal Capital Territory, ( FCT), Secretary of Agriculture, Mr. Ibe Prospect, noted that the coming of COVID -19 is a wakeup call for a new beginning in Agriculture because this has shown that nations unable to sustain their internal food supply may not survive in times of grave demand posed by disasters like COVID – 19.

Presenting a paper ” promoting private investments and financing agribusiness value chains in the face of COVID- 19 Pandemic, floods and Insecurity “, Abdul – Azeez Olumiywa stated that the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation ( FAO), and World Food Programme (WFP), in recent reports stated that ” acute hunger is set to soar in over 20 countries without urgent and scaled-up assistance of which Yemen, South Sudan and Northern Nigeria top the list “. The report ascribed the causative factors to Insecurity ( conflict other forms of violence), COVID – 19, and climactic extremes especially delays in the onset of rainfall as a result of climatic change.

In recognizing these challenges, Dr. Umakhihe stated that being aware and cautious of the impact of COVID- 19 on the global community, as well as climatic change, flooding, and Insecurity that is posing a threat to global food security and Nigeria in particular, stakeholders in the 44th NCARD should consider themselves as engine room and should deliberately put strategies in place and explore linkages for an increase in production, processing, and marketing within the agribusiness ecosystem, to avert food crisis and engender food sufficiency for the growing Nigerian population The Permanent Secretary stated that the Federal Government is committed to implementing the framework of the National Economic Sustainability Plan and the Nigerian Agricultural Technology and Innovation Plan as a strategy for food resilience and economic development.

He highlighted the Federal Government’s efforts in the sector to include: “the provision of Mechanization, inputs to farmers, training of extension agents on extension service delivery in the crop, fishery, and livestock value chain activities and construction of mini earth dam for irrigation activities “.Dr. Umakhihe informed that “others are the facilitation of rice, milk, Cassava Processing plants, Bush clearing, farmers Market, Commercial pasture plots, Windmill powered boreholes and Rural roads. Similar is the conduct of Aerial spray against the seasonal invasion of quelea birds in the North East and North West frontline States to migrate losses “.

He emphasized the commitment of the ministry “be tied to the commodity value chain concept of strengthening sectoral linkages, Import substitution initiatives, value-added Processing, and Export-oriented activities in the country”.Umakhihe stressed the importance of sustaining the collaboration on agribusiness initiatives to facilitate incentives to researchers, farmers, and processors geared towards an increase in agricultural output and match National requirements. He pointed out that “this will encourage more individuals and institutions to invest in agriculture and create livelihoods and wealth for the populace. Therefore, we must sustain our cooperation on Agriculture and food security for socio-economic development in Nigeria “.Other thought-provoking presentations were made by Engr. Aleode Isedu, Nasir Yammama, Dr. Jinandu Maina and lead presenter, Prof. Gbolagade Ayoola ,among others .

Training: Agribusiness Off-Taker and Smallholder Farmer Relationships

The third capacity-building training for the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development staff was held on 7th – 8th June 2021 at IITA, Ibadan.  The training organized by sahel consulting in partnership with IITA was attended by 33 participants selected from FMARD departments, ten of which were from the state offices in Kano, Kebbi, Benue, Edo, Anambra, Ekiti, Katsina, Gombe, Niger and the rest from the Abuja office.

The objectives for the training were for the participants to:

  • Understand the significance of smallholder farmers and agribusiness off-takers in the Nigerian agricultural sector and their prospects in achieving sustainable food systems.
  • Examine possible solutions to food waste that occur in rural smallholder farms due to market linkage restrictions.
  • Assess the significance of agribusiness off-takers in improving the food supply chain and enhancing small scale farmers income especially those in rural areas.
  • Examine past and existing policies that affect relations between farmers and offtakers on the food supply chain using selected countries as case studies.
  • Assess the other exogenous factors that could influence effective relationships between agribusiness off takers and smallholder farmers in Nigeria    

  

 

 

 

Participants were taken through the different types of farmer-off-taker engagements, the stakeholders in the agribusiness landscape, the significance of the smallholder farmer, the urgency of shifting from subsistence to commercialized farming, the role of FMARD in fostering an enabling environment for food security in Nigeria, Farmer Cooperatives Model, and how to measure and evaluate successful farmer-off-taker relationships.

 

The training also incorporated a facility tour of IITA where participants visited the Cassava Processing Unit, the Yam Aeroponics Center, the Afla-safe Lab, the Bioscience center, Gene lab and the dam that allows for year-round planting.

Participants reported that this training has enabled them to share experiences and see the need to; improve FMARD’s ability to track, support and regulate off-taker-farmer engagements by setting up an identification and record keeping system; improve the quality of extension services and cooperative interactions by leveraging on mentorship and coaching services provided by private sector organizations; and to collaborate better with research & technical institutes to gain access to data and training services.

 


Nigerian Farmers And Agribusiness Awards (NFA Awards, 2021)

Following the earlier approval of the Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development to collaborate and partner with African Farming Project and jointly organize the Nigerian Farmers’ and Agribusiness Award (NFA Awards, 2021) which was ratified by signing of a MoU by both parties on 30th December, 2020. The preparation for the ceremony has commenced. Join Us,  Progam of event

Nanono Seeks Strategic Partnership and Collaboration with Stakeholders in the Fertilizer Industry for Increased Production

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Muhammad Sabo Nanono has advocated for a more strategic partnership and robust collaboration with Stakeholders in the fertilizer industry to boost its production and develop the sector. He said the effort would ensure its affordability, increased production, self–sufficiency, easy access to products by the farmers, and achieve food and nutrition security.

The Minister made this known over the weekend, during a working visit to the facility of Indorama Eleme Fertilizer and Chemicals Limited (IEFCL), located at Eleme in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. Alhaji Sabo Nanono acknowledged the company for being a strategic partner in the development of the agricultural sector, especially in the supply of fertilizer products like NPK, UREA, and DAP to farmers across the country.

Alhaji Nanono also commended the Organisation for going beyond the sale of Urea fertilizer to farmers, to engaging in extensive Agronomy and Agricultural Extension Services and other laudable Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) across the country geared towards improving the quality of lives of the farmers and food production. According to him, ‘’ the company is deeply embedded in the agricultural transformation agenda of President Mohammed Buhari’s Administration and the Nation’s Economic Development in general.

The Minister lauded Indorama for its massive supply of Urea fertilizers to over 70% of farmers in Nigeria as well as using its blending plants for the production of NPK fertilizers at a subsidized price to Smallholder farmers.Nanono expressed satisfaction with Indorama for its excellent environment, production capacity, creating employment, and providing business opportunities for Nigerian graduates, artisans, farmers, and entrepreneurs.

In his remarks, the Chief Executive Officer of Indorama Fertilizer, Mr. Munish Jindal, stated that the vision of the company is to build the largest petrochemicals and fertilizer hub of Africa in Nigeria and to empower the Nigerian farmers by ensuring the production of quality fertilizer. The highlight of the working visit was the guided tour of the facility with different sections of the Trains 1 and 2 fertilizer plants including the State-of-the-art Control Rooms, the Ammonia Plants, Urea plants, Power plants, and gagging section. The Organisation has two fertilizer plants with a production capacity of 3 million metric tons of Urea fertilizer per annum.

Training: Value Chain Transformation from Farm to Fork

The second capacity-building training for the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development staff was held on May 3rd – 5th May 2021 at ARMTI, Abuja.  The training organised by Sahel Consulting was attended by 41 participants selected from FMARD departments, five of which were from the state offices in Borno, Ondo, Rivers, Abia, Sokoto, and the rest from the Abuja office.

The objectives for the training were for the participants to:

    • Understand and appreciate the advances in Nigeria’s most critical agribusiness value chains.
    • Map the actors within and along the value chain and identify their pain points, challenges, and opportunities, which require policy interventions. Participants should be able to replicate this process in other value chains and make informed recommendations for interventions going forward.
    • Understand best practices in other countries that can be adapted to the Nigerian context with a wider perspective on best practices, lessons learnt from other regions via the training and practical examples is key to exposing opportunities to participants.
    • Develop clear strategic responses for strengthening Nigeria’s priority value chains.

Participants were given an overview of some priority value chains: Cereals & Grains, Roots & Tubers, Fruits and Vegetables, Fisheries and Dairy. Each value chain was analyzed through the lens of the gaps, the challenges, and opportunities that exist within the value chain. In addition, participants also discussed the gender gaps and constraints that exist in the priority value chains and came up with recommendations for inclusion strategies some of which center around closing the gender gap in extension worker services and recruitment.

Participants reported that this training has exposed them to new ways of thinking and innovative ideas especially in the areas of gender awareness and the disparity in FMARD, ideas on Urban Agriculture and Soilless farming, seeing agriculture as a commercially viable business and not a second option, Identifying one’s influence within the workplace and how to implement recommendations accordingly.


Training on Effective Communication & Policy Making

The first capacity-building training for the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development staff was held on April 12th– 15th, 2021 at ARMTI, Abuja.  The training organised by Sahel Consulting was attended by 48 participants selected from 21 FMARD departments, five of which were from the state offices: Lagos, Kano, Enugu, Cross River, and Bauchi. Read More

Dairy Sector to Boost Food Production and Strenghtnen Potential Investment Opportunities in Nigeria- Nanono

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Muhammad Sabo Nanono has reaffirmed the Federal Government’s commitment to boost food production, productivity in the dairy sub-sector, ensure food security and self-sufficiency in Nigeria.

He said “the need to harness our potentials in the dairy sector’ address contemporary critical socio-economic and national herd management issues have induced renewed interest in the development of the Diary particularly in recognition of the nutritional and livelihood importance of milk and other dairy products in Nigeria”.

Speaking during the opening ceremony of a Wider Stakeholders Engagement on National Dairy Policy held at the Reiz Continental Hotel, on Tuesday 30/03/21, Alhaji Sabo Nanono, stated that the Federal Government is committed to providing the enabling environment for sustainable direct investment in the dairy industry and other key sectors of the economy.
According to him, “the Federal Government welcomes at all times, the support, collaboration and partnerships of all concerned stakeholders towards ensuring the success of her National food security and economic diversification initiatives”.

While highlighting the present situation of the dairy industry, the minister noted that the industry is “largely subsistence and consist of local milk production, importation, processing, marketing and consumption. The consumption of aggregated and bulk milk is less than 20% of the local potential “. He said the gap between supply and demand for dairy products was widening as a result of an increase in population and urbanization.
The Minister further explained that “the per capita consumption of milk is 8 litres per year representing very low consumption levels when compared with the global averages of 44 litres of milk, consequently, the long neglect of the livestock sector has put a lot of burden on the import bills of the country”, he said.

Nanono, therefore, stressed “the need to foster sub-sectorial growth, one that is inclusive of smallholders and all key players along in the dairy value chain”. This he said, required the buy-in of national and multinational stakeholders”.
“To facilitate this growth, the Ministry is presently collaborating with the Federal Ministry of Industry Trade and Investment (FMITI), Raw Material Research Development Council (RMRDC), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning and the private sector, to promote and develop the local dairy industry’’.

He said that the collaboration will facilitate the process of evolving a National Dairy Policy that will articulate a clear road map and strategies for the attainment of the development aspirations in the sector.
He charged the Stakeholders ‘’ to ensure inputs from all angles to the policy document that will be forwarded to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for approval and subsequent presentation to the general public for guidance’’.  
In his remarks, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Richard Adeniyi Adebayo, stated that” the essence of the policy is not to puncture the existing success recorded in the dairy industry but rather to strengthen it., adding that the dairy policy document is consistent with the Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP)”.

He assured that the “government will consider and harness the inputs, observations and contributions arising from this engagement with a view to taking a position that will be in the best interest of the dairy industry and the economy in general “.
In his welcome address, the  Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr Ernest Umakhihe said that ‘’ Nigeria is far from meeting national sufficiency in dairy production in particular, and therefore spends a huge amount on the importation of dairy products to bridge the huge gap between supply and demand’’.

He said that ‘’ the proposed policy, therefore, is to give defined direction for the country’s dairy industry where all players at whatever scale will be expected to abide by the rules of operation, in terms of production, processing and marketing of dairy products in Nigeria,”
The 2- day engagement meeting has in attendance stakeholders including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Food and Agricultural Organs(FAO), the Central Bank of Nigeria( CBN), Sahel Consulting, Raw Materials Research Development Council, (RMRDC), Federal Ministry of Finance. Budget and National Planning, Advance Local Dairy Development in Nigeria (ALDDN), amongst others.

EARLIER: African Economic Security Lies in Agriculture – Nanono

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Muhammad Sabo Nanono has stated that agriculture has a huge economic potential in Africa to create wealth and produce enough food to feed her people, stating further that it is important to create and sustain an economy in the sector to widen our perspective in the continent.Nanono said this while receiving in the audience a delegation from Course 36 of the Kenyan Defence Staff College on a courtesy visit to his office in the evening of Wednesday, 17th March 2021 in Abuja.

The delegation, on a regional study tour, was in the ministry to seek knowledge on Nigeria’s agricultural policies to help rejig the Kenyan agricultural policy. The Minister who expressed delight at the visit said, “as Africans, we can learn a lot from each other and create a huge market amongst us both in the higher and lower levels. The wealth is in Africa, we must take our destiny in our hands to secure the future”.Nanono noted that despite the challenges faced by the continent, “we must explore the over 60 per cent arable land domiciled in the continent as an advantage to ensure deliberate government policies that will drive the actualisation of food sufficiency and security in the continent, “we must lay our cards very well, if not we can become slaves in our country”, he added.

The Minister informed the delegation of the large scale intervention and focus by the Nigerian government in the sector to include: the creation of platforms for the development of the food value chain both at the micro and macro levels and from the levels of production to processing, training of more extension workers to provide extension services for smallholder farmers and livestock development. Others include; mechanization, strengthening of the research institutes for quality and improved seeds, provision of rural infrastructure for the ease of access to the markets by the farmers.While emphasizing the strategic relevance of the sector in food security, the minister disclosed that the ministry is working hard to create the needed synergy between the agricultural and the industrial sector for the industrialization of the sector through mechanization in line with international best practices.

Nanono added that in Nigeria, “we produce what we eat and eat what we produce”, stating that this catchy phrase has helped in promoting the local rice farmers especially during the lockdown resulting from the COVID-19 Pandemic and has subsequently increased local rice production in the country. He said the youth are also mobilized through the universities to participate in agriculture as the country seeks to explore its export potentials, adding that more youth are being encouraged to go into farming.

In his remarks, the leader of the Kenyan Defence College delegation, Col David Samoui, said they were in the ministry to seek information on how Nigeria is running its agricultural policies, stating that the country was amazed at how Nigeria could feed its over 200m population whereas Kenya was struggling with food security with just a population of 40 million people.

He said Nigeria is a “ good destination to study and to know how agriculture is contributing to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP)”. He also added that the students from the college were expected to develop the best strategies for Kenyans after the study tour.

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