The Vice President of the federal republic of Nigeria, Senator Kashim Shettima, has charged governments at all levels to be rooted in recognizing the agrarian nature of the country’s economy and work towards developing the agriculture sector to achieve self-sufficiency, while encouraging value addition to produce.
According to him, “our upcoming task must be rooted in recognizing the agrarian nature of our economy,”
Shettima gave the charge recently, while delivering his opening address at the 137th meeting of the National Economic Council (NEC) which took place at the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
In his words: “We must strive for deliberate value addition in the agricultural sector, moving away from commodity exports towards job creation.
“Collaboration is vital in enabling the Specialized Agro Processing Zones (SAPZ) Programme spearheaded by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in partnership with the Africa Development Bank (AfDB).
“Your Excellencies, we must develop our agricultural sector towards self-sufficiency and exporting processed agricultural products in line with the African Union’s Africa 2063 Agenda.
“This also aligns with AfDB’s investments and commitment to establishing the SAPZ. Collaboratively, we should harness our agricultural comparative and complementary advantages across the value chains of priority crops within the SAPZ.”
Shettima’s spokesperson, Stanley Nkwocha, said in a statement that the Vice President has also urged all the governors of the 36 states of Nigeria to work towards developing the country’s agricultural sector.
In the statement, he implored the governors to do this with a view to reducing the dependence on food imports and attaining greater food self-sufficiency in Nigeria.
The VP, according to Nkwocha, noted that it resonates well with the investments and commitment of the African Development Bank (AfDB) to establishing Specialised Agro Processing Zones (SAPZ) in the country.
“Shettima also hinted at the possibility of engaging the private sector in tackling the problem of floods and other natural disasters.
The Vice President added that considering the financial implications of managing natural disasters, the government cannot do it alone.
“While urging unity as the nation’s hope, I am aware of the financial implications of managing natural disasters. We cannot tackle this alone,” he continued.
“Innovative capital pools from the private sector can help share and mitigate fiscal and economic risks posed by such disasters.
“This approach has been successful in other African countries, preparing for low-probability yet highly disruptive ‘black swan’ events.
“Once again, we find ourselves bearing the weight of the nation. Since our last gathering, much has transpired, with each event punctuated by the nation’s reactions.
“None of us here requires a reminder of the direction we are headed or what is required to ensure that we stand together through the storm to fulfill our promises to the people.”