The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr. Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar, has stated that investment in the nation’s agricultural sector is paying off as Nigeria has become the largest producer of rice and sorghum in Africa and second largest producer of millet in Africa.
Abubakar stated that Nigeria also currently occupied the first position in cassava and yam production globally, adding that the potentials in crops, livestock, horticulture, and fisheries sub-sectors are enormous.
He 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) in Abuja.
He, however, stated 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.
According to him, 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,” he said.
Abubakar pointed out that the mandate of the ministry to take Nigeria to the promised land could only be achieved when researches are adaptive, focused to solving challenges and the need for entrepreneurs to take deliberate action to invest in the different agricultural value chains.
He emphasised that ICRISAT is recognised 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 utilisation by livestock.
“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,” he said.
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 would continue to partner with the research institutes in the ongoing and new initiatives for the development of the agricultural value chains in the country.
In his welcome remark, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr. Ernest Umakhihe, said that the launching of the seven technical working documents on the outcome of socio-economic studies by ICRISAT Nigeria is aimed at strengthening collaboration in developing the agricultural sector of the economy.
In his remarks, the Chairman, House Committee on Agriculture Colleges and Research Institutes, Mr. 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), the Country Representative in Nigeria, Mr. Hakeem Ajeigbe, stated that the main objective of the programme was to share the outcome of the seven socio-economic studies by the organisation aimed at strengthening and collaborating on developing the agricultural sector.