The Honourable Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Sen. Heineken Lokpobiri, has decried the absence of agricultural data in the country, describing it as one of the problems that is militating against optimum performance of the sector.
He made this observation on Tuesday at the Public Presentation of the 2017 National Agricultural Performance Survey Report conducted by the National Agricultural Extension Research and Liaison Services (NAERLS), Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria in conjunction with Agricultural Development Projects (ADPs) and the Federal Department of Agricultural Extension of FMARD.
Senator Lokpobiri also stressed the need for research institutes to not only publicize their works, but also commercialise their research findings, for Nigeria and the global community to have access to such research and data generated.
According to the Minister, “Nigeria is the new investment destination for Agriculture and achievements in the sector cannot be sustained on our traditional agricultural practices. Agriculture should be seen and practiced as a business”.
The Minister assured that henceforth, the public presentation of the national agricultural performance survey report will be done publicly for the public and other end users to have access to them and more importantly for the report to serve as a knowledge base for research and policy decisions.
The Vice Chancellor Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Prof. Ibrahim Garba, in his opening remarks assured everyone that his university will continue to serve the needs of the teeming population of farmers and other stakeholders through the annual conduct of performance surveys.
Providing highlights to the 2017 Agricultural Performance Surveys, Prof. M.K. Othman, the Executive Director, National Agricultural Extension Research and Liaison Services (NAERLS), noted some constraints to agricultural production in the year include, severe flooding, poor farm input provision, and poor extension support amongst others.
He recommended the promotion of research and extension responses to the challenges of climate change and called for strengthening of capacities of the Agricultural Development Projects and all other agencies involved in agricultural data capture in order to generate high quality agricultural performance data. He made a case for conscientious promotion of agricultural mechanization as a national priority.
Earlier, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) Dr. Bukar Hassan, commended the staff of the Institute of Agricultural Research (IAR), NAERLS, and Agricultural Extension Services department of the Ministry for producing the document.
Others, who were present at the public presentation, include some states Commissioners of Agriculture, Programme Managers of Agricultural Development Projects (ADPs), Development Partners like the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), GIC, Cornel University, and general Staff of the Department of Agricultural Extension and other departments of the Ministry.
Osagie Jacobs Julie (Mrs.)
For: Director, Information.
28 Feb. 2018