By Edwin Nwanojuo
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development Dr. Mohammed Bello Umar has said that the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Commissioners of Agriculture in all the states of the federation, other stakeholders in Agriculture sector and partners are meeting to assess the effect of extant policies and strategies, and fine-tune the existing initiatives for the attainment of food security in the country.
Dr. Mohammed Bello Umar stated this at the opening ceremony of the Technical Session of the 43RD Meeting of the National Council on Agriculture and Rural Development held in Umuahia, Abia State on Tuesday, April 23, 2019. He appreciated the commitments of the delegates for attending the meeting for exchange of ideas on Agriculture development process in the country.
The Permanent Secretary who was represented by the Director Federal Department of Agriculture, Dr. Batamous Babandi, further said that with the prevailing framework of the 2016 Green Alternative (Agricultural Promotion Policy) Government’s focus is to use the themes of “Productivity Enhancement’’, “Private Investment’’ and “Institutional Realignment” to develop agriculture in the country.
According to him, the Ministry is implementing this policy by promoting research applications, reviving extension services, easing input access, facilitating affordable credits, increasing commodity output, enhancing processing capacity, broadening market access and expanding revenue earnings.
Dr. Umar disclosed that Government is committed to the provision of incentives to farmers to increase the output and quality of agricultural commodities to exceed national requirements, adding that the Ministry has strengthened the Growth Enhancement Support Scheme by validating farmers’ biometric registration, using tablets for redemption, clustering farmers into commodity value chains and providing minimum input package to farmers.
The permanent Secretary said that notwithstanding the Ministry’s efforts of assisting small scale farmers with machinery hiring scheme, government has also made arrangement with certain agricultural machinery manufacturers towards the establishment of related assembly plant in the country to locally produce farm machinery that can withstand the varying geographical terrain and climate conditions of the country.
He sought for the commitment, cooperation and continuous collaborations of our partners, government entities and private establishments to be a plank for food security and employment opportunities to ensure sufficient food and stability in the country.