By Francis Nansak
As the world is currently struggling to survive from the economic hardship unlitched by the coronavirus outbreak,also known as COVID-19,that broke out from the Western countries,as China, Italy,France, America,Britain and found it way down into the Sub-African region.
The world economy was hit by a total shutdown on trade and investments,leaving production,manufacturing and inter countries travels badly affected,leading to lost of jobs,thereby created untold hardships,spreading hunger of no measurable status across the globe,however respaired appears to be in sight.
With the Nigeria Agricultural stakeholders unrelenting efforts, proves the condition can be nip on bud, through consistent and deliberate policies and programmes to growing agricultural business,they have confidently stated that amidst the daunting challenges currently being faced, Nigeria will surely overcome food insecurity and sufficiently improved on her national Gross Domestic Production (GDP) with more commitments and the needed investments in the agricultural sector.
These are some of the unwavering decisions and speeches made during the 2021 National Agricultural show and World Food Day celebration,which held at Tudun Wada,karu,local government area of Nasarawa State a few days ago.
Declaring opened the 2021 National Agricultural show,president Muhammadu Buhari, represented by the minister, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development,Dr Mohammed Mahmood Abubakar,said his administration have provided a zero interest loans to farmers in order to lift Nigerians out of poverty,as well as targeted 5-10 Million jobs in the agricultural sector .
The president also stated that his administration has reduced the interest rate on CBN interventions loans from 9 to 5%.An initiative which was created for facilities such as Agriculture credit support system to exploit the untapped potentials of Nigerian Agricultural sector.
The president however,was optimistic that inspite of the adverse caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,through concerted efforts of the federal government and that of the Nigeria farmers,hunger, joblessness and food insecurity will be overcome in no distance period and Nigeria instead of being importer of food,will become exporter of food and others.
On his part, the Nasarawa State Governor, Engineer Abdullahi Sule,backed the federal government led administration of president Muhammadu Buhari,saying in recent past,no successive administration has taken seriously agricultural sector the way the present government at the center has demonstrated commitment and investing into” which speaks volume to how the APC agenda on taking Nigeria to the next level was crafted.
Governor Sule,also added that with the presence of all the stakeholders in the agricultural sector, becomes clear,which also is demonstration of the commitment of this current administration of president Buhari to revamping the agricultural sector for socio economic development.
He further said that the presence of the honourable minister of agriculture and rural development,being his first time on the ground of the National agricultural show,he believes that he will bring his wealth of experiences and collective commitment to bear for the transformation of the agriculture in Nigeria.
Also, the Board of Trustees chairman NAFN,chairman Senate committee on Agriculture,who was the first executive governor of Nasarawa State,senator Abdullahi Adamu,posited that the 2021 National Agricultural show is the 14th in the series since the National Agricultural Foundation was instituted in 2007.It was interrupted in 2020 because of COVID-19 pandemic,that forced the federal government to impose preventive measures to contain the virus and save the country.
Senator Adamu said” I am happy that the interruption was brief and we are able to hold this year.The measures have been relaxed sufficiently to encourage public gatherings as this.As we like to say,we thank God for his mercies,it is our hope and prayer that sooner than later,this devastating scourge would become history and free the world from constant fear of death” He posited.
In furtherance to his speech, senator Adamu added that the annual Agric show has always been held back to back with the World Food Day” This year’s world food Day comes up on the 15th October 2021.The World Food Day is an important day on the calendar of Food and Agricultural Organization,FAO,of the United Nations.
Some of the participants who spoke with our correspondent on the 2021 Agric show includes ATASP1, NAERLS,NAGARI Integrated Farms and AFAN.
In their various submissions,the National Agriculture Business Specialist of Agricultural Transformation Agenda support Programme (ATASP1) Mr Adekunle Alege,said that they are being funded by African Development Bank,which is a project under the Federal Ministry of Agriculture,structured into 4 zones across the country.
Adekunle added that their mandate crops are but Three, which are Rice, Cassava and Sorghum” with these 3 crops,we engaged the services of institutions like IITA ,ETISAF and others for handling of our rice ,cassava an sorghum.so we are a value chain programme,value chain from the farm to the table” He added.
The Agric Business Specialist,stated that at the moment, Nigeria is the largest producer of cassava in the world,saying for rice and with the devolution of ATASP1 and so many programmes, production has gone up tremendously,vis A vis the banned in the importation of rice” like in Kano alone, the rice millers have grown from 28 to over 200 within the span of two years” He confirmed.
And professor Muhammed Musa Jaliya ,the Assistant Director, Extension Training and Outreach,at the National Agricultural Extension and Research Liason Services,Zaria,said the positive implications of organising the National agricultural show,is that it afford stakeholders in the Agricultural sector to come together .
According to him, NAERLS is one among the 17 Agricultural Research Institutes in the country,but with slight difference from the other 16 in the sense that those sixteen have their mandate crops where they research on,but that NAERLS take up general research for all crops.
“Our work is to collect each technology these research institutes come up with and take it to the end users,those meant for farmers,we take it to them and if it is for processing,we take it to the processors and if it is for mechanisation we also take it to the farmers,so we are at the center collecting technology for all these research Institutes and disseminate it” Prof Musa said.
Stressing the importance of the agricultural show,he said it is the only avenue where agricultural stakeholders meet to share technology and ideas,which it importance can not be over emphasis.
He however called on the Nigeria government to try and uproot completely corruption at all levels , especially in the agricultural sector,in order to achieving the desire goals of food productivity and security.
METRO DAILY NIGERIA,report that the national agricultural show,was declared closed on Friday by the Kano state governor,represented by his deputy,Yusuf Nasir,who was in attendance and senator Abdullahi Adamu,representatives of the FAO,Mr Fred Kafeero,among other dignitaries.
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