• Wednesday, February 28, 2024
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Minister worry over shortage of staple crops in Nigeria

Lagos supports 5,000 farmers with inputs to tackle rising food prices

Abubakar Kyari, minister of Agriculture and Food Security, has raised concerns over the growing shortages of staple crops such as rice, wheat, cassava, soybean, millet, sorghum among others, in the country.

The minister stated this at a workshop organised by the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN) in Abuja on Friday.

According to Kyari, who urged the Council, to ensure researches going forward aligns with the food security mandate of President Bola Tinubu, addressing this shortages remains critical in ensuring food sufficiency in the country.

He said, “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.

“Agriculture is the singular most important sector that can transform the economy of our great country to meet the growing demands for food, nutrition, industry and jobs.

Kyari who was represented by Abdullahi Sabi, the minister of State for the ministry, stated that ensuring increase in agricultural productivity is the key determinant for socio-economic transformation and thus livelihood improvements in Nigeria.

He explained that the establishment of spinoff companies to commercialize research products and innovations generated by research institutions, was in furtherance of the government’s plans to empower the institutions.

“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 plays 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 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 fund for research, training and extension activities.

“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 of practical and less theory. This will enable the beneficiaries of this training programmes to have practical and working knowledge of agricultural businesses. The ARCN should therefore work with relevant stakeholders in the agricultural education sub-sector to actualize this directive.

“You will recall my earlier directive that available lands within the various agricultural research and training institution should be channeled toward agricultural production.

“I therefore wish to reiterate that all of you should key into this initiative of the Ministry aimed at promoting food production in the country.

“I am aware that the mandate of this meeting is to share ideas to come up with projects that cut across the mandate of various institutions which include technological development on machineries, genetic improvement, extension delivery and training of our youth to embrace agriculture as a business.

In his remarks, Garba Sharubutu,the executive secretary of ARCN, said that the workshop was aimed to empower researchers as well as to boost impact of agricultural researches in the country.