The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Mohammad Abubakar, has identified research as a key area for the development of Nigeria’s agriculture sector.
He made this known when he paid a working visit to the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN), where he stressed that research can be deployed in the sector to improve quality seedling, enhance food and nutrition security and drive the diversification policy of the Federal Government in the agricultural sector.
Abubakar further highlighted the significance of research in the agricultural systems, especially in fast-tracking food security, innovations and the exportation of various agricultural products.
The minister averred that President Muhammadu Buhari administration is particularly interested in the agricultural sector and, thus, the ministry is ready to assist and collaborate with the council towards improving research outcomes.
“It is the responsibility of the agricultural researchers to make Nigeria great in export and evolving an innovative cropping system.
“The federal government is also working with international organizations to improve the sector to enhance food production that will be sufficient for Nigeria’s growing population. We are doing everything possible to bring up some kind of stimulant that will cause price reduction naturally,” he said.
Earlier in his welcome address, the ARCN executive secretary, Prof. Garba Sharubutu, highlighted the giant strides recorded by the various research institutes in recent times to include the development of technologies to tackle some emerging diseases and pests.
Sharubutu added that the council has changed the direction of its research from basic research to demand-driven agricultural research and technologies. “Most of our research Institutes now are answering the yearnings of Nigerian farmers in this regard,” he added.
Meanwhile, the minister also visited the National Agricultural Quarantine Services (NAQS), where he charged the agency on the delivery of its mandate and to ensure a good working relationship between the Nigeria Customs Services and other relevant government agencies towards availing Nigerians of quality goods and services.
Similarly, the minister also visited the Nigeria Agricultural Insurance Corporation (NAIC), saying the federal government would recapitalize the corporation to enhance its service delivery to Nigerian farmers.
“Recapitalization is very important and that is exactly what we are doing with the Bank of Agriculture (BOA). I have already spoken with the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). We will probably put things together and work on them,” he assured.
The NAIC managing director, Mrs. Folashade Joseph had earlier informed the minister on the need to have more Nigerian farmers protect their investments by taking advantage of the favourable insurance policy created by the government.
A statement by the ministry’s director of information signed by the chief information officer, Ezeaja Ikemefuna, said insurance is the key and bedrock of any investment, especially in mitigating post-harvest losses and natural disasters like flooding.