The Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Senator Abubakar Kyari, has reiterated the commitment of the Federal Government to ensuring the realisation of food security in Nigeria
He made the promise, recently, during an interactive session with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Production Services and Rural Development, Senator Saliu Mustapha.
Kyari stated that the Ministry was committed to ensuring the realisation of the agenda of President Bola Tinubu, stressing that six of the president’s agenda were agriculture-related.
He further explained that modern agriculture was dependent on mechanisation, technology and innovations, pointing out that Nigeria’s population was increasing and needed to move very smartly to achieve food security.
Kyari identified conflict, climate change, lack of inclusion of smallholder farmers, and mechanisation, among others, as some challenges bedevilling agriculture in Nigeria.
Meanwhile, the senate asserted that the agricultural sector has remained the most important sector of the nation’s economy, and would for a long time be the driving force of the national economy.
This was as the apex legislative Assembly pledged to cooperate and collaborate with the Ministry of Agriculture and all stakeholders in the sector, to promote the diversification of the economy, by upscaling agricultural productivity through viable investments and enhancing farmers’ capacity.
Declaring these positions, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Production Services and Rural Development, Senator Saliu Mustapha, posited that Nigeria could not survive as a nation without food security for her citizens.
He noted that over the years, the Senate had made several remarkable interventions and passed several laws to improve agriculture, lamenting that despite all of these efforts, a lot still remained to be done to achieve the goal of revamping agriculture in Nigeria in the shortest time frame.
He said: “Agriculture still remains the most important sector of our economy and will for a long time be the driving force of the national economy. Nigeria cannot survive as a nation without food security for its citizens. With the majority of the population residing in the rural areas and predominantly into farming as a means of livelihood, we as players in this all-important sector cannot afford to fail in meeting their expectations
“Distinguished members of this Committee are fully aware of the enormous responsibilities on our shoulders and are committed to ensuring that the policies and legislations passed are fully implemented.
“Over the years, the Senate has made several remarkable interventions and passed several laws with a view to improving agriculture, however, despite all of these efforts, a lot still remains to be done to achieve our goals to revamp agriculture in Nigeria in the shortest time frame.
“This is not a task we in the Senate can achieve alone. The need, therefore, to continue to engage with stakeholders like yourselves, is one we cannot wish away. It is in the light of this belief that this Committee will continue to collaborate with you and all stakeholders to:
“Promote the diversification of the oil-dominated economy by upscaling agricultural productivity through viable investment and enhancing farmers’ capacity to plug into untapped opportunities across the sector’s value chain.
“Boost local food production with improving innovations to produce more food for the local population and increase foreign exchange earnings and export the surpluses.
“Ensure the reduction of the soaring unemployment ratio amongst the youth through the mechanization to increase youths interest and attraction to the Agricultural sector.
“Push for the implementation of the Maputo Declaration to raise the budget for the Agricultural Sector to at least 10% of the National budget from the current abysmal 1.96 %.
He therefore expressed optimism that with continuous engagement there would be an improvement in the Agricultural Sector for the benefit of all Nigerians.
He assured that the Committee was desirous of ensuring that policies and regulations are followed to the later.
“We will hold you up to your responsibilities, knowing that you can deliver on your mandates
“This interactive meeting is therefore essential to understand where we were, where we stand presently and where we ought to be.
“With your cooperation and by the special grace of the Almighty we will do that which is best for our collective interest as a Nation and for those whose livelihood depends on this sector of our economy.”