Federal Government has disclosed plans to increase agricultural production in the country to enhance service delivery in terms of food availability, accessibility and export.Dr. Abba Sayyadi Ruman, Minister of Agriculture and Water Resources made the disclosure while speaking at the opening ceremony at the 6th Nigeria Economic Summit Group (NESG) Agricultural Summit in Abuja.
Ruman said there were impediments which posed serious challenges to agricultural productivity in the country.
“It is in realisation of this that my ministry is being re-positioned to vigorously address the problems, with a view to enhancing effective and efficient service delivery in term of food availability, accessibility and export,” he explained.
Some of the impediments, according to the minister are inadequate supply of and distribution of quality inputs such as improved seeds, seedlings, brood-stock, feed, vaccines, fertilizers, agro-chemical, machinery and implements.
Others are poor extension service system, weak research-extension linkage, land and water degradation, poor rural infrastructure, poor storage and processing facilities, marketing problem ageing farmers among others.
He said the agriculture ministry has identified 11 critical areas for government’s intervention in the sector with the aim of repositioning the sector for better service delivery and improved productivity.
The minister explained that land, one of the impediments “is a critical factor of production,” saying that the goal of his ministry was to expand areas under cultivation through development of irrigation and drainage facilities and land reclamation programme.
Ruman told participants at the summit that his ministry would eliminate the current constraints associated with agricultural inputs — fertilizer, seeds, and agro-chemicals.
He also said that “in our quest to feed the over 140 million Nigerians and achieve reasonable level for export,” the nation cannot depend on hoe and cutlass technology but there should be a shift of emphasis to tractorisation
Earlier in his welcome address, Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, Chairman, NESG noted that agricultural growth will have to move from the present 7 per cent to enable Vision 20-2020 materialise. He noted that the sector and its value chain have to grow at not less than 13 per cent within the next 13 years for it to achieve this vision agenda.
The Summit with the theme: “Improving Agricultural Productivity and Value-chain towards Nigeria’s Vision 20-2020,” after extensive discussions and deliberations, of the various presentations resolved as follows:
*There is an urgent need for the adoption of the Nucleus Estate Initiative by both the Public and Private sector Stakeholders as a one stop strategy to achieving accelerated value chain development and by extension improved agricultural productivity in Nigeria.
*The movement from supply chain management to value chain development is a necessity to improving Nigeria’s agricultural productivity and value chains as we journey to 20- 2020.
*The attitude of the public sector and its major players especially the Federal Institutions to activities/fora that are germane to realising increased agricultural productivity does not march with its proclamation of commitment to vision 20-2020.
*Nigeria possesses enormous potential to galvanise our journey to 20-2020 through the cassava revolution and this is an open secret.
The Private sector players embraced the policy on the inclusion of 10 per cent cassava flour. The resultant enormous investment in cassava cultivation is now being threatened, and the current government seems not to be taking any action. The Summit requests that government should take urgent action to remedy this deadly situation.
The 6th NESG was sponsored by Notore Chemical Industries Ltd., with support from PropCom, USAID/Markets, and syngenta.