The Minister of State for Agricultural and Rural Development, Hon. Mustapha Shehuri has said that the Implementation of the National Agricultural Technology and Innovation Policy (NATIP), 2022- 2025 would fast track the agricultural revolution in Nigeria, stating that it will enhance access to improved inputs and linkages amongst research and teaching institutions as well as improve on the level of agricultural mechanisation.
He also stated that the policy would boost extension service delivery, create access to finance, ensure the security of Agricultural land and other related investments that are Agro-based.
Shehuri made this declaration during the national validation exercise of the draft National Agricultural Technology and Innovation Policy (NATIP), 2022-2025, held at the Nigeria Air Force (NAF) Conference Centre, Abuja.
“The thematic issue in this policy framework include stakeholders’ synergy, knowledge creation and transfer, private sector-driven mechanisation, commodity value-chain development, land and climate management and agricultural financing and appropriate strategies have been highlighted for smooth implementation.
“The strategies have been re-defined to also focus on the establishment of cottage industries and agro-processing zones for priority commodities, establishment of functional models of ranches, grazing reserves, integrated meat and dairy processing facilities. It also gives adequate attention to the fisheries’ value chain particularly the artisanal fisheries to reduce the import to meet domestic consumption.
“The approach adopted by the ministry to achieve sector policy of ensuring national agricultural development is through commodity value chain across the crops, livestock and fishery sub-sectors, as well as through investments in rural infrastructure, research technologies, credit access, climate adaptation, mechanisation, storage facilities, extension services, agro-input and processing plants. These are fundamental issues on agriculture that have been appropriately dealt with in the new policy.
“The Federal Government has been developing agricultural policies and strategies from operation feed the nation in the mid- ‘70s to Green Revolution in the early ‘80s, national programme for food security and the recent agricultural transformation agenda and Agricultural Promotion Policy aimed at ensuring food and nutrition security, wealth and Job creation in the country.
“This validation exercise is a platform for sharing experiences and making input into the Draft National Agricultural Technology and Innovation Policy (NATIP). The forum will enable stakeholders to understand the policy direction seamlessly towards economic diversification, food security and wealth creation in the country as the objectives of the ministry.
“The ministry has facilitated agro-input centres, agro-processing centres, agribusiness incubation centres and agro-industrial estates. All these interventions have translated to an appreciable contribution of the sector to the nation’s gross domestic product. The efforts have translated into the sector positive growth throughout the COVID-19 period and beyond.
“Following the above and other special interventions into the development of agriculture, the ministry from 2015 to 2020, has developed and promoted over 30 commodity value chains, it has embarked on the construction of rural roads, provides solar and motorized boreholes as well as many mini water treatment plants in Rural areas facilitated across the country.
“Other Interventions include mini earth dams, water harvesting structures, tube wells, silo complexes, processing complexes and farmers markets as part of collective effort to upscale infrastructure that is required to make agriculture works.”
He urged the participants to be open-minded in sharing ideas to contributing to the development of this robust sector strategic plan that would help Nigeria achieve food security, create employment and stimulate economic growth for national development.
In his welcome remarks, the permanent secretary in the ministry, Dr Ernest Umakhihe, who was represented by the director, planning and policy coordination, Alhaji Abdullahi Zubairu, urged states and non-state actors in the validation exercise to critically examine the policy measures of the draft NATIP policy framework to align national and regional priorities as well as ensure ownership and collective implementation in the country.
“With the policy, stakeholders are to equally be committed to public-private partnerships, quality assurance and competitiveness for self-sufficiency in food production and socio-economic development in the country “.
In his goodwill message, the chairman, House Committee on Agricultural Colleges and Research Institutions, Hon. Munir Danagundi, stated that there should be timelines for the policy direction to be “effective and achievable”.
Speaking in the same vein, chairman, House Committee on Agricultural Production and Services, Hon Muktari Dandutse, said the validation exercise is a collective task to reposition the agricultural sector. He assured that the legislature will continue to facilitate laws that will speed up the development of the sector.
During his presentation of the draft National Agricultural Technology and Innovation Policy (NATIP), the director, planning and policy coordination in the ministry, Alhaji Abdullahi Zubairu stated that: “This policy document has not only reviewed all the cross-cutting issues in the Nigerian agricultural sector but has evolved strategies and programmes that can transform the sector into a world-class, technology-based and private sector-driven industry that would promote rapid economic development growth, job creation, among others.
“For a country with the large percentage of arable land and a fairly educated youthful population and as the most populous and biggest economy in Africa, agriculture is critical to the nation’s foreign policy, its position in the comity of states and its rating in the politics of international economic relations to be above board. He reiterated that Nigeria must be job and food-secure as the sector has capacities to ensure both.
A statement by the ministry’s director of information signed by Ezeaja Ikemefuna said the minister of state, a separate event at the ministry, received in audience a delegation of West Africa Rice Farmers Association led by the national vice-chairman, Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria, (RIFAN), Alhaji Mohammed Auwalu, who was in the ministry to discuss how to ensure that the West Africa Region achieves self-sufficiency in rice production and also study the success story of Nigeria in the rice value chain.