The Minister of State for the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi has proposed the establishment of a National Agriculture Data Centre to attract investors and enhance food and nutrition security in Nigeria.
This proposal came to light during a meeting with a delegation from the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), led by the director of the Office of Emergency & Resilience, Mr. Rein Paulsen, in Abuja.
Abdullahi emphasised the significance of a robust data governance system, stating that it would serve as a catalyst to attract and encourage investors. He highlighted the importance of such data in defining farm types and providing essential information about the location of farms across the country.
Expressing the commitment of the current administration to achieving food security, Abdullahi underscored the paradox of Nigeria possessing 70 per cent of arable land while some segments of the population still lack food security. He stressed the need to actualise the National Agricultural Data Centre within the next two years and emphasised the government’s determination to prioritise food security.
The minister outlined ongoing efforts by the Ministry to create an enabling environment for investors, facilitating easier entry and conducting businesses. He explained that increased investment would lead to enhanced self-sufficiency, job creation, and greater inclusivity for youths and women in the agricultural sector.
Abdullahi commended the FAO for its longstanding partnership with the ministry, particularly in providing technical capacity and establishing a wide network. He acknowledged that various countries have benefited from FAO’s global experiences.
In response, Paulsen of FAO Headquarters in Rome shared the organisation’s commitment to supporting Nigeria in addressing food security challenges. He expressed the intention to focus on enhancing resilience and adopting a systematic approach in collaboration with the FAO Nigeria office.
The Permanent secretary of the ministry, Dr. Ernest Umakhihe reiterated FAO’s vital role in helping achieve the ministry’s mandate and suggested a revisit of quarterly meetings to keep pertinent issues at the forefront of discussions.