The Federal Government has reiterated its commitment to enhance its efficiency and effectiveness in repositioning Nigeria`s agriculture sector.
President Bola Tinubu stated this at the 6th Africa Wide Agricultural Extension Week (AAEW) on Monday in Abuja.
The President was represented by the Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Security, Sen. Aliyu Abdullahi.
Tinubu said that the Federal Government recognised the huge potential of agriculture as a key sector in driving the nation’s economy.
The theme of the conference is: Harnessing Agricultural Extension and Advisory Services in Scaling Regenerative Agriculture and Nature Based Solutions for Food System Transformation in Africa.
The president said it was reassuring and pleasing that the present Federal Government recognised the huge potentials of agriculture as a key sector in driving the nation’s economy.
“It is against this background that the present administration is pursuing an 8-point agenda which include food security; poverty eradication; growth, job creation and access to capital amongst others.
“The Federal Government seeks to restructure the economy from unnecessary borrowing to finance government programme as well as create jobs, achieve economic growth, “prosperity for all,” and end poverty.
“Agriculture must be market-oriented and move away from the subsistence farming been practiced by our smallholders farmers.
“In achieving this the government has come up with programmes such as National Agriculture Growth Scheme-Agro-pocket where millions of farmers are supported through training on Good Agricultural Practices,“he said.
He said that certified inputs such as improved seeds and organic and inorganic fertilizers and irrigation equipment will be provided at highly subsidised prices to enhance their production.
Tinubu said that agricultural extension plays a critical role in bringing relevant and improved technologies developed by National Agricultural Research Institutions (NARIs)
He said to strengthen agricultural extension delivery services in Nigeria, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security had put together the first ever Harmonized Extension Manual in Nigeria and National Agricultural Extension Policy.
Harmonized Extension Manual in Nigeria and National Agricultural Extension Policy.
Tinubu said that the manual focuses on how to effectively disseminate and deploy agricultural innovation/technologies to end users using appropriate extension methods.
“The manual will be of great benefit to extension administrators, Subject Matter Specialists, Extension agents as well as farmers along the agricultural value chains,” he said.
He said that the policy seeks to provide a pragmatic, effective and efficient demand driven plurastic, ICT-enabled and market oriented extension service to all stakeholders.
These according to him included youths, women, and people with special needs to optimally use resources to promote sustainable agriculture and socio-economic development of the country.
” Let me re-assure you that this government have renewed commitments towards attaining food security in line with the vision of President Tinubu`s Renewed Hope Agenda in Nigeria.
‘ Our resolve is to develop the agricultural sector towards the attainment of the objectives of SDGs especially those of zero hunger and to improve agriculture and rural productivity.
“Nigeria`s current plan is to achieve self-sufficiency in food production and reduce dependency on food imports,” he said.
” This government is open to suggestions that can enhance our efficiency and effectiveness in repositioning Nigeria`s agriculture sector.
” I hope this conference will come up with actionable solutions to agricultural challenges in Nigeria,” he said.
Tinubu thanked African Forum for Agricultural Advisory Services, AFAAS and other development partners for organising the conference.
In a remark, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Dr Ernest Umakhihe, said that the importance of extension services could not be over emphasised.
He said that was why the Agricultural Extension Service Department was created in December 2012.
Umakhihe said it was created to disseminate and support farmers to adopt improved technology, and innovation for sustainable Agricultural development and productivity.
He said that the essence of Agricultural Extension Services was to address post harvest challenges, capacity building and for food security.
Umakhihe was represented by Mr Mike Brooks, the Director, Federal Department of Agricultural Extension Services, ministry of Agriculture.
Earlier, the Governor of Niger, Mohammed Bago, restated the commitment of the state Government in the development of agricultural and extension services in the State.
Bago said that Niger welcomes partnerships and collaboration for sustainable agriculture and acceleration of the country’s economic growth.
He was represented by the state Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr Musa Bosso.
Also speaking, the governor of Benue, Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia said that the importance of Agricultural Extension in Nigeria cannot not be over emphasised.
He said that there was a decline in human capacity in terms of Agricultural Extension Services.
Alia said that the state was ready to implement all the findings of the conference, as it was crucial to the development of the country.
The governor was represented by Prof. Moses Ogbaji, the Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources .