FG harnessing technological innovations to boost food security, export – Minister
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar, said the federal government would put in place measures to harness technological innovations to boost agriculture.
Dr Abubakar said this at the North East regional validation exercise of the draft National Agricultural Technology and Innovation Policy (NATIP) 2022-2025 on Thursday in Gombe.
He said the policy would ensure food and nutrition security as well as promote the export of agricultural produce, create jobs and boost wealth creation for the country.
Represented by Mr Umaru Mohammed, Zonal Director, North East, FMARD, Abubakar stated that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari was committed to strengthening the country’s capacity to feed its citizens.
According to him, the federal government, through the agric ministry, organised NATIP to facilitate a new policy framework to succeed the Agricultural Promotion Policy (APP) 2016-2020.
The minister stated that the validation exercise was a platform for sharing experiences and making inputs into the draft NATIP as well as providing an opportunity for feedback from stakeholders at the grassroots level on issues affecting agricultural development in the Northeast.
“The forum will enable the alignment of national and regional priorities and ensure ownership and collective implementation of the policy document in the country,” he said.
The minister stated that the expectations for the policy framework included stakeholders’ synergy, knowledge creation and transfer, private sector-driven mechanisation, commodity value chain development, land and climate management and agricultural financing.
“In terms of strategies, the focus is the establishment of cottage industries and agro-processing zones for prioritised commodities and also the establishment of functional models of ranches, grazing reserves, and integrated meat and dairy processing facilities.
He added that fisheries value chain development would also be prioritised.
Abubakar stated that the federal government had invested a lot in the agriculture sector from 2015 to improve the wellbeing of rural dwellers and make agricultural activities easier for farmers while encouraging youth participation in farming.
According to him, all these interventions had translated to appreciable contributions of the sector to the nation’s gross domestic product.
Also speaking, Alhaji Modibbo Nafada, chairman of the All Farmers’ Association of Nigeria (AFAN), commended the federal government’s move to improve the agriculture sector through technological innovations.
Nafada stated that technological innovations had greatly helped advanced countries in developing their agricultural potential, hence the move by the government if properly implemented would boost food security.
He said, “I hope this NATIP will bring new technologies and interventions that will help farmers in our effort to provide food for the country.”
Also speaking, Hajiyah Fatima Sani, a physically-challenged farmer from Gombe State, thanked the federal government for inviting her to represent Persons Living with Disabilities, adding that such inclusiveness in agriculture would boost food security.
Sani stated that contributions from PLWDs had been forwarded while urging the government to come up with innovations that would make farming a participatory activity for PLWDs in the region.
Sani, who said she cultivated over 15 hectares of land in 2021, urged the federal government to consider PLWDs when giving loans and other incentives for farming.
On his part, Malam Sadiq Ado, Secretary, Agro Dealers Association, Gombe State chapter, appealed to the federal government to come up with innovations that would help eradicate fake agrochemicals in the markets.
He added that fake agrochemicals had caused huge losses to farmers in the state.