Mechanised Agric, Key Sector For Nation’s Economy

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Mechanised Agriculture has been identified as one of the key sectors capable of sustaining the nation’s economy if properly harnessed.
Nigeria,s first Lady and wife of the president, Hajiya [Dr.] Turia Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, made the observation Monday during the official flagging – off and lunching of the 2009 cropping season for the Nigerian women in the southern part of the country held at Okpara Square, Enugu.
According to her, no economy can record meaningful feat without agriculture, hence the Yar’Adua led federal government places much emphasis on the sector, stressing the need for the country to always give mechanised farming serious attention it deserved.
She therefore, explained that the southern lunching exercise which was coming less than one week that of the Northern part of the country took place in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory was a genuine attempt designed to empower Nigerian women in agriculture, adding that provision of the farm implements being made available to the women at a subsidise rate would also go a long way in enhancing food security in the country.
The First Lady, however, called on all and sundry to always support women farmers especially those that are into mechanized farming, pointing out that agriculture, as being encapsulated in the federal government’s 7-point agenda would continue to receive adequate attention of the Federal Government.
Her words: “It is worth mentioning here that women are responsible in carrying out greater percentage of agricultural labour and about 60 per cent food processing activities, they still have access to less than 20 per cent agricultural inputs being distributed nation wide”, saying such situation remains a serious challenge and impediment on the side of the women towards contributing having food security in the nation.
“I salute your efforts, encouragement and determination for actively participating in the socio- economic growth of the nation”, she further stressed.
While welcoming the women to the ceremony which was attended by governor’s wives from the 17 southern states of the federation, Governor Sullivan Chime of Enugu State, commended the First Lady for her effort in encouraging Nigerian women to embrace farming, disclosing that his administration places much emphasis on agriculture.
He made it clear that agriculture was one of his administration’s 4-point agenda, assuring that the state government would continue to encourage and support every genuine agricultural programme in the state.
Earlier in her brief speech, wife of the host governor, Mrs. Clara Chime who led other South-East governors’ wives to the well- attended event noted that despite the fact that majority of the southern people are subsistence farmers, their efforts are not recognized by government , pointing out that, about 70 per cent of all agricultural activities are done by rural women The Enugu State First Lady, however, regretted that despite the tremendous role played by women in the agricultural sector, they have continued to face a scores of obstacles, especially in the southern states of the country, listing some of such barriers to include lack of access to better technology of production and processing machines, non allocation of marginal lands to women, among others, pointing out that better ones are reserved for men in the country.
The occasion was graced by several women farmers’ groups, including the Nigerian Council of Women Society, among other women associations in Nigeria.