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.