Agric. Minister Advocates Investment In Rural Infrastructure, Research, Credit Access

CALABAR/Nigeria: The Minister of Agriculture, Muhammed Abubakar on Thursday says Nigeria can enhance its agricultural sector by investing in rural infrastructure, research and credit access.

Abubakar was speaking at the South-South regional validation exercise of the Draft National Agricultural Technology and Innovation Plan (NATIP) 2021 to 2025, held in Calabar.

The minister said the exercise became necessary for the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) and its partners.

Abubakar said it was to facilitate a policy framework to succeed the Agricultural Promotion Policy of  2016  to 2020.

Represented by Alhaji Zubairu Abdullahi, Director, Planning and Policy Regulations, FMARD he said the approach to national agriculture was improving commodity value chain process across the crops and livestock sub-sectors.

“We can enhance agriculture by investing in rural infrastructure, research technologies, credit access, climate adaptation, mechanization, storage facilities, extension services, Agro input and processing plants.

“The validation exercise is a platform for sharing experiences and making inputs to the draft NATIP,

“The agriculture plan of the nation will enhance access to improved inputs, linkages among agricultural research institutions, mechanisation and extension services while ensuring security of agricultural investments.

“The forum will also enable the alignment of national and regional priorities and ensure ownership and collective implementation of the document in the country,” Abubakar said.

He urged the participants to be open-minded in sharing ideas towards developing a robust sectoral strategic plan that would help Nigeria achieve economic growth and development.

In his address, Mr Okon Owuna, Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources stated that the policy thrust of Cross River was hinged on agriculture.

Owuna added that the policy was aimed at ensuring food sustainability in the state and nation.

He said the state was working towards becoming the agricultural industrialisation hub of Nigeria.

“We believe that at the end of the exercise, the policy documents will be validated and approved as a working document that will guide the agricultural innovations in the country,” Owuna said.

Addressing newsmen at the event, Dr Bedru Balana, researcher, from the International Food Policy Research Institute, said the institute supported implementation of the plan.

Balana said that sensitization had been going on across the states in the Federation, adding that, the way the policy was being drafted it would most likely be implemented.

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