The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Sabo Nanono has said that the Nigerian agricultural sector is characterized by low productivity.
Nanono who spoke while inaugurating the National Agcelerant Technical Committee said the agricultural value chains was underperforming.
Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari had ordered the Central Bank of Nigeria to restrict Forex for food importation, stressing that enough achievement have been recorded in the agricultural sector.
However, the Minister said “our agricultural sector is characterized by low productivity, under- performing agricultural value chains ,food import level negatively affecting our trade balance among others’’
The Committee which was inaugurated by Federal Government in collaboration with Manobi Africa PLC a company based in Mauritius would Mobilize Financial Support for Small Farmers and also provide Technical Assistance towards improving their capacity in area of new Agronomic practices and latest Technologies, adding that it would facilitate improvement in their Productivity.
Alhaji Nanono further said that ‘’ we need to start reversing this trend by harnessing the hug potentials in the agricultural sector for sustainable development through partnership and engagement with wiling stakeholders who genuinely believe in our beloved nation, and ready to lend us helping hands”.
He pointed out that ‘’ the AgCelerant is a novel Value Chain orchestration platform connecting smallholder contract farming and producers with banks, insurers and input providers and agro-industries to control risks and improve the productivity, security and welfare of millions of farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa.’’
The Minister also said that ‘’ the promotion of phygital Agriculture to encapsulate the emergent opportunity for robust physically-based, digitally – driven solution to improve Agricultural production and productivity in Nigeria towards sustainable and transparent global food systems of the future cannot be over-emphasized’’.
The Committee is chair by the Permanent Secretary (FMARD), Co- chair by International Crop Research institute for semi-arid tropics (ICRISAT) / Manobi Africa PLC, Central Bank of Nigeria, Bank of Agriculture, among others as members, while Federal Department of Agricultural Extension(FDAE) as Secretariat.
In his opening remarks, the Permanent Secretary, (FMARD), Dr. Mohammed Bello Umar, said the Nigeria’s food import is on the increase.
He, however said the Nigerian agricultural value chain which is unorganized and unstructured needs to be improved.
The Permanent Secretary who was represented by the Director, (FDAE), Mrs. Karima Babangida, said ‘’according to the FAO, Nigeria food imports are rising and projected, for rice alone, to reach 5 Million tons by 2028.
“This dependency on food imports applies throughout the commodities, we consume, resulting in a trade imbalance that severely dents our national budget and threatens to aggravate’’
In his remarks, the Chief Executive Officer, Manobi Africa, Daniel P. Annerose, pledged continuous collaboration and Technical Support towards improving Food Security and Value Chain in the Agricultural Sector in Nigeria.