The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar said that robust partnership and collaboration between the Ministry and Agriculture research institutions would fast-track development of Agricultural value chains, improve the quality of seeds and enhance productivity.
He stated that “the federal government is determined to fill the gap and consolidate on the achievements recorded and focus on productivity enhancement, institutional realignment, and private sector investment. Expectations are to deploy improved varieties and associated technologies and support agribusiness undertaking in the country”.
The Minister made this disclosure during the launching of the Technical Working Documents and Debriefing of Outcomes of Socio-Economic Studies by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), at the Ministry’s Conference Room in Abuja, today.
Dr. Abubakar pointed out that ” the mandate of the ministry is to take Nigeria to the promised land could only be achieved when researches are adaptive, focused to solving our challenges and the needs for entrepreneurs to take deliberate action to invest in the different agricultural value chains”.
He informed that “investment in agriculture is paying and Nigeria has become the largest producer of rice, and sorghum in Africa, second largest producer of millet in Africa and the first in cassava and yam production globally, adding that the potentials in crops, livestock, horticulture, and fisheries sub-sectors are enormous”.
He emphasized that ” ICRISAT is recognized by the Ministry in championing of sorghum, millet, and groundnut value chain development as well as climate-smart Agricultural activities, including bio reclamation of degrading land and crop residue utilization by livestock “.
He further said that ” the Ministry, therefore requires your contribution and support towards delivering in these priorities areas. Only then will we be able to address the impact of the global health emergencies and high expectation of present administration in the agriculture sector “.
The Minister stated that the drafting of the forthcoming National Agricultural and Technology Innovation Plan (NATIP) of the ministry will consider the scientific analysis and recommendations.
He assured that the ministry will continue to partner with the research institutes in the ongoing and new initiatives for the development of the agricultural value chains in the country. He also commended ICRISAT and its national partners, ARCN, IAR, CDA-BUK, LCRI, NAERLS and the state ADPs for their eminent support contributions in the agricultural value chain”.
In his welcome remark, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr. Ernest Umakhihe said that “the launching the 7 Technical Working Documents on the outcome of Socio-Economic Studies by ICRISAT Nigeria is aimed at strengthening collaboration developing in the agricultural sector of the economy”.
He informed that “the event is the product of the collaboration of various Research Institutes, Universities, and stakeholders in the agricultural sector. He further pointed out the key challenges facing the sector which include: the need to slow changeover to modern farming and commodities value addition, access to quality inputs, agricultural loan at single digit, effective and efficient farmer education/provision of extension services, and availability of markets”.
In his remarks, the Chairman, House Committee on Agriculture Colleges and Research Institutes, Hon. Munir Babba Dan Agundi lauded ICRISAT for giving policymakers important information to serve as guidelines in terms of policy formulation and decision making.
During his presentation on the background and objectives of the event, the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics ( ICRISAT), Country Representative in Nigeria, Dr. Hakeem Ajeigbe stated that the main objective of the program was to share the outcome of the seven(7) socio-economic studies by the organization aimed at strengthening and collaboration on developing the Agricultural sector.
In a separate event, the Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Hon. Mustapha Baba Shehuri, inaugurated the National Agricultural Growth Scheme and Agro Pocket ( NAGS&AP), Implementation and Technical working committee charged with the following mandate; All Agro dealers and other service providers must provide a letter of commitment and undertaking not be involved in any form of malpractice, Value Chain approach should be adopted in scheme’s implementation, i.e both upstream production and downstream processing, value addition, marketing up to consumption, All Inputs to be distributed to the farmers must be of proven quality, among others. The committee has Hon. Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development as chairman and 16 other members.