The Presidential Taskforce on Rice and Wheat has called on the Federal Government to increase its investment in agriculture to unlock the huge potentialities in the sector.
The Chairman of the taskforce, Abubakar Bagudu, who is also the Governor of Kebbi State, made the call in Birnin-Kebbi on Sunday while speaking with newsmen.
Bagudu said government was not investing enough in agriculture, in spite of the enormous potential inherent in the sector.
“As a country, we are putting too little money or almost nothing into agriculture, and we expect miracles to happen.
“In 2016, which is the worst year for crude oil, the money put into producing oil was about 9 billion dollars.
“The total money that went into agriculture in the states as loans from commercial banks, from CBN’s Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) is less than one billion dollars.
“If our ambition is to make agriculture equivalent to oil, then we should think of it as such, be it in rice, wheat, cassava, palm oil.’’
Bagudu said the state had entered into a partnership with Lagos State Government to increase its investment in agriculture.
“Our outstanding result on rice is as a result of the Federal Government’s commitment to mobilising farmers. What is discouraging farmers is the issue of smuggling.
“We formed a partnership with Lagos State last year and before the Christmas we sent the first consignment of 140,000 bags of LAKE Rice to Lagos.
“We did not receive any complaint about the rice during the season and we are still going to supply the rice during Ramadan.’’
He said the state would upgrade its grains markets to international standard to facilitate the sale of farmers’ produce.
FCTA To Enhance Agricultural Productivity
The Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) says it will develop innovative strategies to enhance agricultural efficiency and productivity in the Federal Capital, Abuja.
Secretary of the secretariat, Mr Lawal Geidam, stated this in Abuja, after receiving briefs from different departments in the secretariat on their operations, achievements, and challenges.
Geidam said the secretariat would educate and equip residents, particularly the youths, with the necessary knowledge and skills to operate agriculture as a viable business.
“By imparting this knowledge, we hope to empower individuals to engage in agriculture as entrepreneurs, fostering economic growth, and creating employment opportunities in the process”, he said.
He emphasised the importance of synergy among the various departments of the secretariat to achieve the desired results.
The scribe explained that the briefs from the different departments had enabled him to have a comprehensive understanding of their roles and functions.
This, he said, would ensure effective coordination and alignment with common goals in line with the agricultural development agenda of the President Bola Tinubu-led administration.
According to him, the activities of the departments are interconnected, and their collective efforts are crucial in enhancing food production.
Geidam added that the working synergy would also help in transforming the agricultural sector into a significant source of employment and wealth creation for the growing population.
The Secretary noted that working in isolation would not lead to the desired outcomes, stressing the need for collaboration and cooperation among the departments.
“The activities of the departments are interwoven. All are geared towards not only boosting food production but making the sector a viable source of job and wealth creation for our teeming population.
“We cannot achieve this in isolation, all the departments must work in synergy to achieve this objective”, he said.
While expressing satisfaction on the progress recorded by the various departments so far, Geidam assured that the challenges were surmountable.
“All we need from you as civil servants is sincerity and diligence in doing your jobs”, he said.
Experts Chide Residents On Embracing Urban Farming
A former Commissioner for Youth and Social Development in Lagos State, Mr Agboola Dabiri, has urged residents of the state to embrace urban farming.
Dabiri said this at an agriculture empowerment programme organised by members of Ajowa Community Development Association (CDA) in Surulere area of Lagos State, in collaboration with Africanfarmer Mogaji, recently in Lagos.
According to him, embracing urban farming will increase and better their livelihood. adding, the empowerment programme is titled: “Farm and Profit”.
In his lecture titled, “Global Farming without Boundaries”, Dabiri said residents must begin to create space for farming in homes, balconies, compounds and garages.
He said agriculture was a huge value chain that included production, processing, marketing, distribution, packaging and many more.
Dabiri urged the residents to develop a passion in any of the value chains to better their lots.
“I don’t know the last time I bought lemon in Abuja. What I did was, I planted seeds in an old sack and that is what I have been using in my home.
“In Masha, here in Surulere, we have the biggest fruit farmers in Lagos. They are very organised and you can also join them by simply identifying where you belong.
“Also, in Surulere, we have one of the largest ram market and I am a member, because I also rear animals.
“You have to look at where you belong and explore all the potential in agriculture. During the last Ileya festival, I sold rams and I made profits, you too can do that. Agric is very profitable.
“I buy my ram myself; rear it myself and give it to my boys to sell during festival. I have already started rearing ram against next festival.
“Residents of Surulere must come together and see how they can promote urban farming and contribute to the food self-sufficiency of the state”.
He commended the Chairman of Ajowa CDA, Mr Tunji Adebayo, for organising empowerment programmes for members of his association.
Also speaking, Mr Africanfarmer Mogaji urged the people at the local government level to embrace agriculture in order to feed the nation.
Mogaji, in his presentation titled ‘Farm and Profit’, urged people in the urban area to embrace agriculture by way of processing, marketing, distribution, packaging and production.
He said majority of people in the South-West zone were consumers of agricultural produce and not generating enough income from agriculture, because of lack of understanding.
“There are lots of opportunities in agriculture that remain untapped and people need to look beyond farming”, he said.
In his remarks, Mr Suleimon Bamidele, Chairman, Surulere Local Government Area, lauded the CDA and the council’s support for continuation of the programme.
Bamidele, who was represented by Mr Abayomi Ambali, Senior Special Adviser to the Chairman on Agriculture, noted that the council would continue to promote and support agricultural policies.
FG Moves To Tackle Animal Diseases
The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has inaugurated a primary animal health centre to tackle animal diseases such as anthrax and lassa fever.
The centre, inaugurated at the Federal College of Animal Health and Production Technology, Moor Plantation, Ibadan, Oyo State, was constructed to provide quality care services for animals and prevent infectious diseases.
While handing the centre over to the college at Ibadan, during the week, the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Dr. Ernest Umakhihe, said the centre was constructed to complement and boost capacity of the college and the state in order to effectively provide quality animal healthcare services for the populace
Umakhihe, who was represented by the ministry’s Coordinator, Dr Kakulu Florence, said the centre will also provide a level ground for graduates of the college to compete effectively in their chosen career.
He said the handover of the facility to the college was to enhance proper management and utilisation, and to ensure its sustainability, adding that the ministry will continue to support the college in order to achieve its aims.
“Please ensure that all proper management procedure is put in place and documented appropriately. Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is saddled with the responsibility of ensuring an enabling learning and working environment for both the students of the college and workers as well.
“The Federal College of Animal Health and Production Technology, Ibadan, as one of the colleges under the coverage of the Ministry, has benefited from various infrastructural facilities like other institutions in Nigeria.
“Dear beneficiaries, sustainability of this infrastructure facility should be a collective effort by ensuring that proper management is upheld”, he said.
The Provost of the college, Dr Adekoya Owosibo, in his remarks, appreciated the ministry for the structure. He added that the facility would assist the college in effective training of the students in areas of animal health and technology.
Owosibo said the facility would also impact on the immediate community in mitigating diseases affecting animals and other livestock in the state.
He stated that it will also be beneficial to the lecturers of the college in the area of research.
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