Nigeria has recorded an increase in crops production and in land areas agricultural cultivation in 2017 above the 2016 production records.
A report on the 2017 Wet Season Agricultural Performance Survey (APS) report presented by the Federal Government in Abuja, said the overall Farm yields still remained below global and African averages for all the sub-sectors.
The study was done by the National Agricultural Extension and Research Liaison Services (NAERLS) in collaboration with the Federal and states Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
According to the report, maize production increased from 10,813, 980 tonnes in 2016 to 12, 107,580 tonnes representing 11.96 per cent increase.
Rice production increased to 8.02 million tonnes was produced in 2017, representing an increase of 14.7 per cent over the 2016 output, sorghum increased by 4.4 per cent with an average yield of 1.3 tonnes per hectare.
Others are cowpea with a 6.1 per cent increase, 11.4 per cent increase for soybean and 7.7 per cent increase for cassava.
The report listed major constraints to agricultural production during the year under review to include farmers-herdsmen clashes, insurgency, and cattle rustling among others.
It, however, recommended the strengthening of the capacity of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, to put in place strategies for collective action on high quality agricultural data generation.
Presenting the maiden agricultural report, Sen. Heineken Lokpobiri, the Minister of state for Agriculture and Rural Development, commended NAERLS for the survey.
Lokpobiri emphasised the importance of agricultural based data, saying it would guide investments and government planning in the sector.
“One of the problems we have in this country is lack of data and most decisions are based on wrong premise, which is not a true reflection of what happens in the country.
“The report therefore serves as a knowledge-base for research and policy decisions.
“We have to look for money to expand the survey for wet and dry season farming in 2018. We have to make this an annual event to make agricultural data available to the public,’’ the minister said.
The Vice-Chancellor of the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Prof. Ibrahim Garba, said that although the report was the 30th edition produced by NAERLS, it was the first time the report would be presented to the public.
Garba said the report was necessary to enable the country achieve self sufficiency in food for local consumption and export.
The Director of NAERLS, Prof. Mohammed Othman, called for more assistance from various stakeholders to assist the organisation to have access to data for the subsequent survey.
Some state representatives of Agricultural Development Programme (ADP) commended the Federal Government’s N-Power initiative, adding that the programme had helped to strengthen extension services to farmers