Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja
Kebbi State Governor, Alhaji Atiku Bagudu has stressed the need to promote food security in the nation’s agricultural sector.
He made the observation at the ALP Seminar Series organised by Akindelano Legal Practitioners tagged: â€˜Transforming Nigeriaâ€™s Agricultural and Agro-Allied Sector: Financing Opportunities and Challengesâ€™, which took place in Abuja, recently.
In his keynote address, Bagudu said by ensuring food security at all times, the country would know where the food needs of the populace are going to come from.
â€œI think our quest should be that of national food security and conscious efforts should be made in that regard to ensure we energise domestic production in a competitive manner which is harmonious with our obligations both regionally and internationally.
â€œI think what is even more compelling is that for an increasingly growing population, what might be self-sufficient today might not be self-sufficient in the next ten years. So the ability to figure out how to produce competitively and to maintain production competitively is a more legitimate question which would be consistent with objective of providing the maximum employment possible and generating the maximum produce of agriculture as an economic activityâ€, Bagudu said.
He also stated that there is need for the financial sector to start recognising the farmers as a proper entrepreneurship unit as they have been ignored for too long by the formal sector.
He commended the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for sponsoring the Anchor Borrowersâ€™ Scheme which supports local farmers to get the much needed funds for their agricultural practices, adding that the scheme in Kebbi has become so efficient to the extent that the state government no longer has any role to play.
The Vice President, Corporate and Government Relations, OLAM, Ade Adefeko, said the rice producing mills was not all about competition but to drive and pursue solutions in rice production.
Also speaking at the event, the Executive Director/ CEO of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Olusegun Awolowo emphasised the importance of the agricultural sector in the economy, stressing the need to begin to look at products that have higher value at the international market which is well traded.
â€œIf we can increase production to a level, we will get good quality products which would meet international standards and we would export agricultural products which would compete favourably with the export of crude oil,â€ Awolowo said.