James Emejo in Abuja
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Sabo Nanono has
called for stronger partnership between Nigeria and the US especially in the agricultural sector in order to boost food security.
He said, “the first priority is to feed ourselves, produce more and create jobs which will in turn reduce the huge burden of unemployment.”
Speaking when he received a delegation from the United States Agency and International Development (USAID), led by the US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard, on a courtesy visit, the minister noted the partnership had become crucial towards achieving food sufficiency and job creation for Nigerians.
He said there is an on-going four-year strategic programme in the agricultural sector, namely the introduction of mechanised farming to align the country with international best practices which was expected to enhance self-reliance and boost food production in the country.
Nanono, stressed that the mechanisation of the sector would encourage the use of technology for the benefit of the people, promote global best packaging of agricultural products and branding of the products towards ensuring global market penetration.
He said also stressed the need for capacity building which he said was critical in the sector and expressed confidence in the huge market and potentials available in the country.
However, Leonard said the West African region remained home to many of the world’s fastest growing economies and a rapidly expanding middle –class consumer base.
She said american intervention will focus primarily on key value chains in the sector including maize, rice, cowpea, soybean and aquaculture