By Doris Esa
A statement released by Ezeaja Ikemefuna, information officer at the Ministry of Agriculture, Abuja, quoted the minister at a high-level virtual roundtable on Friday, to close activities to celebrate World Agriculture Day. food 2021.
He said that being at the center of the government’s diversification agenda, agriculture deserves better financing, to provide credit facilities that would support the sector’s value chain activities.
Shehuri said the ministry was firmly committed to meeting national food needs, exporting at qualitative levels and creating a favorable business environment that would make agro-industry flourish.
“There is a deliberate strategic approach to creating jobs, conserving foreign exchange and achieving national food security,” he said.
The minister pointed out that the seed sub-sector supply chain is being repositioned to ensure that farmers have access to quality seeds to improve yields.
“The National Agricultural Seed Council (NASC), under my leadership, has been tasked with interfacing with key players in the seed industry to ensure that first generation seeds (EGS) are structured, so as to ” ensure an uninterrupted supply of certified seeds.
“The Council is also leading an awareness campaign on the importance of using improved seeds to boost production,” he said.
The minister added that administrative bottlenecks that had previously hampered farmers’ easy access to fertilizers had been resolved, while the partnership with the government of Brazil to pilot the establishment of 117 mechanization centers across the country was In progress.
“When these centers are completed and made operational, farmers will be able to purchase mechanization services for a fee, with relative ease and without the need to own expensive equipment for agricultural operations,” he said.
“Nigerian agriculture has performed well under this administration in areas such as the world’s largest producer of yams with 18.3 million tonnes, the world leader in cassava production which has steadily grown to 70 million tonnes. tonnes, ”he said.
The country, he said, is also the second largest producer of sorghum in the world, just after the United States of America, the fifth largest producer of palm oil and cocoa, while the Nigeria‘s agricultural sector’s contribution to gross domestic product (GDP) has always been impressive year after year.
“Nigeria is a global player in agricultural exports and in 2019 it recorded as follows: sesame seed oil 77.04 billion naira; cocoa N 66.73 billion, cashew nuts N 45.6 billion, frozen prawns and shrimps N 7.46 billion, ginger N 3.34 billion, processed and semi-processed agri-food products N 1.84 billion and cotton 609 , 33 million N.
“The potential of this strategic sector is enormous and there is enthusiasm and political will to make the agricultural sector the main contributor to the national gross domestic product by 2025,” he said.
Ikemefuna identified other panelists at the virtual event, including: The President’s Senior Special Advisor on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Princess Adejoke Orelope Adefulire represented by her assistant, Rose Keffas, the Senior Special Advisor of the Chairman on Agriculture, Dr. Andrew Kwasari.
The representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Nigeria and ECOWAS, Fred Kafeero, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the country program manager, Patrick Habamenshi, have also participated in the virtual round table.
Others were: the President of the Association of All Farmers of Nigeria (AFAN), Arc. Kabir Ibrahim, Country Director of the World Food Program (WFP), Ronald Sibanda, among others.
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