The Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN) has declared that producing quick maturing crops, like rice, yams, cassava is critical in the nation’s pursuit of food security.
Garba Sharubutu, the executive secretary of the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN) stated this during a press briefing in Abuja on Friday.
According to him, the Tinubu-led administration since inception has continued to reiterate the need to boost food production and food security in the country.
He said, “If we need food to be placed on the table, our advice to the government is to concentrate on quick maturing crops. What do we mean by quick maturing crops? We mean rice, we mean yam, we mean cassava, we mean Guinea corn, millet. These are what we call the quick maturing crops.
“But our advise also is the fact that other products or order commodities should not be neglected. We cannot neglect the cash crop because of the need to diversify. And if you look at the mandate of Mr. President, and his priority list he mentioned food security as a priority”
Sharubutu explained that the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria which was established in 2006, has the mandate to advise government on matters that have to do with agricultural research, agricultural training, and extension service.
According to him, the nation currently have up to 16 research institutions with specific mandates to focus on different crop. “So there are those that are in charge of mainly cereals that is grains, like rice, beans. There are those that are in charge of tree crops, like rubber, palm oil. There are also those that are in charge of fisheries, Marine, and fresh water.
“There are those that are responsible for livestock, like the National veterinary research institute, as well as the national animal production research institute. There are also those that are responsible for extension, national agricultural extension research and liaison services.
Speaking further, Sharubutu stressed on the involvement, training, and education of commodity associations, in the food security campaign to boost food production.
According to him, most farmers who are members of such associations listen only to their leaders without having a broader perspective on how to cultivate crops in line with evolving global practice and methodologies.
“We need a closer collaboration with our farmers, commodity associations and meteorological unit. If you recall when President Tinubu was talking about the declaration of a state of emergency, he said he wants to revive the commodity associations.
“Some of these farmers listen more to the leadership of their association much more than they listen to government, why because the politicisation of our polity in itself makes some people not to listen to certain radios, not to listen to television programmes. They listen to what they want to hear.
“So we think that the commodity associations will do better if they actually key into the programmes of government.
“Most of the associations were gearing up towards how much budget is going to be made so that they will be able to manipulate and get these resources to reach the farmers.
“The declaration of emergency is not just about pumping more money, it is also about education. And I call on our commodity associations to please key into this policy by way of educating their members as to the viability of some of these things we preach on,” he said.