Nigeria’s minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Abubakar Kyari, has voiced concerns over the growing shortage of staples such as rice, wheat, cassava, soybean, millet, sorghum among others, in Nigeria.
He made this known on Friday during a workshop organised by the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN) in Abuja, where he was represented by the minister of State for the FMAFS, Abdullahi Sabi.
Kyari urged the Council to ensure that future research is in line with the food security agenda of President Tinubu, stating that addressing these shortages remains critical in sustaining food sufficiency in the country.
According to him, “There is a clear concern on growing shortages of staple crops such as rice, wheat, cassava, soybean, millet, sorghum among others, which are key to the achievement of food security of our dear nation.
“This must be the main reason why Mr. President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR, declared food security as the number one of his eight-point agenda to drive economic development of the country.”
He further stated that the agricultural sector is the only sector that can transform Nigeria’s economy towards addressing the national demand for food, nutrition, and job creation.
The minister noted that enhancing agricultural productivity through research and training is pivotal for taking millions of people out of food insecurity and low-income status, leading to improved living standards.
“Improvement in agricultural productivity has been proven to take millions of people out of food insecurity and low-income status to food secured and improved living standards. To drive agricultural transformation, research and training play a pivotal role.
“It is the engine room for agricultural development, and our priority as a Ministry is therefore to reposition the National Agricultural Research System for greater productivity. This is the main reason why the Federal Government of Nigeria is insisting on the implementation of the ARCN Act.
“You must therefore strengthen this platform as a means of increasing the internally generated revenue of your institutions in order to augment the available funds for research, training, and extension activities.”
He urged the colleges to prioritize vocational and skill acquisition in their training programs to ensure that beneficiaries gain hands-on knowledge of agricultural businesses.
“I am using this occasion to direct the Colleges to put emphasis on vocational and skill acquisition in your training programmes.
“Consequently, I expect your training programmes to be more practical and less theory. This will enable the beneficiaries of these training programmes to have practical and working knowledge of agricultural businesses. The ARCN should work with relevant stakeholders in the agricultural education sub-sector to actualize this directive.”