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Food, Nutrition Security Reasons Behind Drive For Mechanised Agriculture – Minister

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FMARD
The Minister of Innovation, Science and Technology, Chief Uche Nnaji.

The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security has revealed that its recent collaboration with CB Network Global Concepts and other key partners is part of efforts to orchestrate an exhibition aimed at advancing mechanised farming and ensuring food and nutritional security in the country while generating more jobs for Nigerian farmers.

While addressing the audience at the event themed “Transforming Africa’s Agriculture through Technology and Innovation,” held recently at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, the Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Security, Sen. Dr. Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, emphasised that the Africa Agric Machines Equipment and Technology Expo (AAMETEX 2023) aimed to familiarise African farmers with mechanised farming, attract direct agricultural foreign investments, bolster foreign exchange earnings and stimulate new businesses.

He underscored the crucial connection between technological growth and food security, stressing the role of modern agricultural equipment in enhancing efficiency in production and processing. Abdullahi highlighted that the forum aimed to identify opportunities for collaboration and partnerships with stakeholders, offering solutions to current and future challenges faced by the agricultural sector in the continent.

The minister explained that the event would serve as a platform for discussions on the economic, political, and social landscape, with a focus on their impacts on the growth of the agricultural sector in Africa. Additionally, it aimed to build relationships across agencies and all spheres of government to accommodate technology and innovation.

Recalling the priorities of the present administration led by President Ahmed Bola Tinubu – centered around food security, fighting corruption and economic growth — Abdullahi emphasised the fundamental role of the agricultural sector in driving economic diversification and growth.

He revealed ongoing collaborations with local and international companies, engaging in bilateral and multilateral agreements, such as the one with the Brazilian government and other international agro-machinery companies. The minister disclosed plans under the Brazilian bilateral agreement to import 10,000 tractors and 50,000 processing equipment in completely knocked down (CKD) form, which will be distributed to all local government areas of the Federation.

In his remarks, the permanent secretary of the ministry, Dr. Ernest Umakhihe, represented by the director of special duties, Mrs. Fausat Lawal, highlighted the forum’s contributions to the production and processing of agricultural raw materials and the development of the agri-food value chain. He emphasised its role in promoting the growth of the agro-industrial sector and the export of food products made in Nigeria in line with international standards.

The director of the federal department of agriculture in the ministry, Engr. Abubakar Abdullahi described the expo as an eye-opener for Nigerian farmers, emphasising its role in value addition and providing insights for agro-marketers to harness the potential available for the mechanisation of agriculture.

In a goodwill message, the head of agribusiness and sustainability at Union Bank Nigeria Plc, Eze Nwakanma expressed that the summit would uncover latent issues in the sector and provide solutions for the growth of agribusiness and agriculture in Africa.

The highlight of the event was the tour of the exhibition stands by the minister of state and other dignitaries.

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