Anyim Pius Anyim ,SGF
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Akinwunmi Adesina, has decried the poor funds allotted agricultural research centres in the country saying it would be difficult for the sub-sector to develop with the allocation 0.8percent of the nation’s budget.
He said there was need to increase funding of research centres with the aim of getting the right technology to the farmers.
Akinwumi, who disclosed this in Abuja during a meeting with the Consultative Group on Research Development, lamented that 5% of Nigerian farmers have access to improved seed varieties, adding that this had hampered agricultural productivity in the country.
He noted that Nigeria had become a dumping ground for rice produced around the world.
He said that to reverse the situation, the nation needs a green revolution, which could be achieved through the availability of improved seedlings to farmers.
Restating its resolve to launch Rice and Cassava revolution, Akinwunmi said the improved varieties would enable farmers produce 40-50 tonnes of cassava per hectare compared to 10tonnes per hectare that is being produced at present.
He said: “The British actually colonised us but they did not take Nigerian soil away.”
The challenge is Nigeria needs green revolution in crop and livestock. We are targeting sorghum green revolution in the North-east and North-west; cotton, onion, and tomato revolution in the North. In the South, we are focusing on cocoa, oil palm and cassava”.
He added: “President Jonathan’s transformational agenda is to change agriculture and to lift 70 million Nigerians above poverty level, and that is the mandate that myself and the Minister of State have been given and we are both committed to revitalizing the sector. Nigeria should not be an importing country but a self-sufficient export country; it is in our hands to bring change to agriculture.”
Executive President of the African Business Roundtable and chairman of the NEPAD Business Group, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, in a remark, stressed the need to support research institutes, stating that Vision 20-2020 goal cannot be achieved without guaranteeing food security.
He said: “We must produce what we eat and eat what we produce. Nigeria needs to beef up its level of food production because if care is not taken we may miss the agrarian revolution, and to avoid this, we need to support our research institutes."