Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sabo Nanono

President Muhammadu Buhari has reiterated his Administration’s commitment to sustain interventions in the Agricultural Sector to boost economic growth and create jobs for Nigerians.

He stated this at the National Agricultural Show to mark this year’s World Food Day Celebration. The event was held at National Agricultural Showground, Tudun Wada, KM 28, Abuja – Keffi,  Nasarawa State.

The President, represented by the Honorable Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Muhammad Sabo Nanono, said that the current policy of the administration has put in place some interventions such as the Under Crop initiative and the Anchor Borrower’s Programme on rice to address the nation’s food security.

He said the programmes have created jobs for millions of youth and women and has reduced poverty, huge import bills and saves the country’s foreign exchange.

President Buhari said, ‘’ the theme for this year’s World Food Day Celebration ‘’ our actions are our future: Healthy Diets for #ZeroHunger World ‘’ is apt now that our diets and eating habits are drastically changing as a result of globalization, urbanization and income growth, as such, concerted efforts are required by all stakeholders to ensure healthy food systems for food security and nutrition ‘’

He further said that ‘’ it is also a wakeup call for policy makers across every sector of the economy to ensure food security, accessibility through healthy and sustainable diets provision’’

He declared that efforts were also being made to increase supply of more farm inputs to farmers to boost their productivity and assured that the administration will continue to address the challenges of our growing population and declining revenue by promoting agribusiness, aiding economic livelihood and attaining food security in the country.

President Buhari pointed out that ‘’the matching of agro- processing companies with farmers out growers cooperative to ensure an off take value addition and grant income for chain Actors placed under the CBN Anchor borrowers scheme had commenced ‘’.

He also added that ‘’ Mechanized Agricultural Programme is being promoted to operate machinery hiring enterprise scheme under private operators to facilitate the manufacturing of durable farm equipment that can withstand the varying geographical terrain and climate of the country’’, and urged relevant stakeholders to own the concept, scheme and strategies of deploying the commodity value chain towards promoting agribusiness in the country through the instrument of inclusiveness, transparency, prioritization, partnership and accountability.

The President acknowledged the efforts of the major stakeholders in the sector including, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, National Agricultural Foundation of Nigeria (NAFN), OXFAM, Action Aid, and other development partners for their collaboration in organizing the World Food Day Exhibition.

Also speaking at the event, the Executive Governor of Nasarawa State, Engr. Abdullahi Sule said that,  ‘’the importance of the National Agricultural Show cannot be over emphasized not only due to its contribution in promoting self-sufficiency in food production but also in promoting the cardinal principles of President Buhari’s next level agenda    particularly in the  agricultural sector.

 

Engr. Sule informed that at the inception of his administration, he had made Agriculture a priority for economic development and diversification and therefore constituted an Economic and Investment Advisory Council to chart the way forward, in terms of enhancing food security and job creation in the State.

In his welcome address, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Agriculture and also Chairman, Board of Trustees of NAFN, Senator (Dr) Abdullahi Adamu, said that, “our Agricultural research institutes need to be urgently revived now more than ever before, agriculture relied on and benefits from modern research into crop production in the past and played a vital role in applied research, they can still do so if they are revived and empowered to play that statutory role again’’.

The FAO Director-General, Qu Dong yu in his address delivered by the Country Representative in Nigeria, Suffyan Koroma called on Government to adopt policy, food standard and regulations that would prioritize the availability and affordability of safe and nutrition foods.

Dong Yu said, ‘’the latest data shows that malnutrition is increasing across all regions and income groups in Nigeria, the prevalence of overweight and obesity in adults keeps increasing and is currently at 7.8% in Nigeria  and that ‘’one in three children is stunted and underweight also currently at 19.9%, which is higher than the globally accepted numbers. Overweight and obesity in adults are on the rise and 48.5% of women of reproductive age are anemic”, he added.

He pointed out that’’ the theme for this year’s World Food Day, Our actions are Our Future. Healthy diet for a #ZeroHunger World, “calls for action to make healthy and sustainable diets accessible and affordable to everyone’’, and cautioned on the need for Nigerians to focus on promoting healthy lifestyles’’.

The exhibition showcased various Agro and allied products on display by farmers and stakeholders in the agriculture value chain from across the country.

Ezeaja Ikemefuna

For: Director, Information (FMARD)