Sabo Nanono, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, says the federal government was committed to ensuring food security and continuous support on storage to reduce harvest losses.
Nanono said this at the opening of 2019 Agricultural Technical Training organised by Green Agriculture West Africa Limited and sponsored by the Chinese Embassy in Abuja.
Nanono, who was represented by Alhaji Muyi Azeez, Director, Agriculture, Processing and Marketing in the Ministry, said that the training would improve the productivity in the sector.
“We are delighted to have this training, we are also excited that this training is coming at a time when Nigeria has just signed the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
“There is no doubt that this training will help us in improving our productivity, improving our production, so that Nigeria will have a better comparative advantage and be able to take advantage of the AfCFTA.
“We are happy and we are so delighted that our staff members and Nigerians are attending this capacity development.
“Let me emphasise that as government, we will continue to support the farmers’ access to input, such as fertilizers, seeds, agro-chemicals and mechanisation in other to ensure that we continue to produce at a cheaper price to ensure food security for Nigeria.
“We will also continue to support storage to ensure that we will be able to reduce post harvest losses, this will enable the farmers to enjoy a very high return in terms of their labour.
“We will continue to support processing by supporting farmers and the processors in the way of developing the small-scale Agro-allied industry.
“This is in view of promoting the diversification agenda of the current administration as contained in the Economy Recovery and Growth Plan.”
Ernest Umakhihe, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Budget and National Planning, who was represented by Oluseyi Fatuyi, Deputy Director, International Cooperation of the ministry, commended the Chinese government and CGC for organising the training.
“As a strategic way to revive the Nigerian Economy to focus more attention on the non-oil sector role in the economy Agricultural sector plays a strategic role in the process of economic development of a country.
“It has made significant contributions to the economic prosperity of advanced nations.
“In other words, where per capital real income is low, emphasis is being laid on agriculture and other primary industries.”
Wang Jun, Managing Director of Green Agriculture West Africa Ltd, said that the company, established in 2006 had invested in a mechanised demonstration farm in Kebbi.
He said it was with the aim of building platform for China-Africa agricultural cooperation.
“In the past years, we have made certain efforts in the investment and development of Nigeria agriculture.
“Our company has introduced advanced rice seed breeding and production technology to Nigeria.
“And has independently bred and registered a new conventional rice variety in Nigeria, increasing the rice yield by 30 per cent.
“In aspect of the seeds product, we developed the contract farming in the mode of “Company/Out-growers.
“It established six seed production cooperatives, which drove more than 5,000 local farmers to increase their agricultural production and income, and promoted the local employment and farmers’ increase to the utmost extent.”
The Agricultural training which began on Sept. 23, will end on Sept. 28, for the 40 participants.