• Saturday, June 15, 2024
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Obasanjo, Nwabuko see innovation, collaboration as solutions to Nigeria’s agric sector challenges

Obasanjo, Nwabuko see innovation, collaboration as solutions to Nigeria’s agric sector challenges

Innovation in agriculture is key to human survival and development, said former President, Olusegun Obasanjo. While speaking at the AgriConnect Summit in Lagos last Friday, Obasanjo said when strategically harnessed, innovation and collaboration can tackle challenges confronting Nigerian agriculture.

Speaking on the theme of the event, “Bridging the Divide: Cultivating Collaboration and Innovation for a Sustainable Agricultural Future,” Obasanjo, who was the chairman of the event, said: “Innovation is very important. Land is important. But, without money your land is useless. You cannot do agric business without money and innovation”.

Commending research institute in Africa and across the world, Obasanjo also canvassed mentorship for young farmers.

Read also: ‘Innovation in agric sector imperative in modern practice’

Obasanjo recalled at the event attended by Minister of Communication, Innovation & Digital Economy, Bosun Tijani and agric experts how he convinced one of his sons to embrace farming despite having PhD from the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom.

According to the organisers of the AgriConnect Summit, put together in collaborations with Obasanjo Farms Nigeria Limited, initiative aims to foster more unified approach to agricultural development.

“At the AgriConnect Summit 2024, we are resolutely dedicated to dismantling barriers and fostering collaboration among diverse stakeholders.

“By convening leaders from technology, finance, government, developmental organizations, and agriculture, we aspire to co-create actionable strategies to surmount the obstacles faced by farmers and fortify food security in Nigeria,” said one of the organisers, Toyosi Obasanjo.

Speaking in a similar vein, another member of the organizing team, Temire Egbe Bob, described the event as an opportunity to inspire the youth, adding that collaboration is key.

Meka Nwabuko, managing director, Prime Agro Seeds Limited who was one of the panellists that discussed the role of technology in transforming agriculture reiterated need for collaboration.

Emphasising cluster farming and cooperatives, Nwabuko said: “Small holder farmers are at the heart of food cultivation and production and remain the dominant producers across the country”.

According to Nwabuko, numerous challenges faced by small holders to produce profitably includes access to inputs, access to financing, access to markets, access to technology and knowledge, security, infrastructures, among others. Nwabuko said: “small holder enabler programs” has shown that these challenges are more structurally and sustainably solved when farmers are grouped together in clusters and/or cooperatives.

“In a cluster farming model support (inputs, finance, technology, knowledge, market etc.) can be better deployed, managed, evaluated and enhanced than when deployed to individual farmers.

Read also: Nigeria partners Saudi Arabia to develop agricultural sector

“Impact of government interventions for example through infrastructure deployment and security are also more impactful in these cluster models”.

Nwabuko also used the opportunity to canvassed enabling government policies.

“Government policy provide the foundation for development of the food production sector. Key policies such as the Plant Variety Protection Act have supported and accelerated the progress of Prime Agro Seeds’s business as it provided the legal framework to protect the intellectual property of foreign investors. It is important that government policies continue to take a value chain view and approach to promote and sustain the adoption of technology”.