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FG, Brazil Sets To Establish 117 Agric Mechanisation Centres Across Nigeria

Nigerian and Brazilian governments would develop 117 agricultural mechanisation facilities around the country.

Minister of State, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development Mustapha Baba Shehuri made this known at a virtual high level panel discussion to commemorate 2021 World Food Day.

Shehuri added that once these centres are operating, Nigerian farmers will be able to receive agricultural mechanisation services for a charge without having to acquire expensive farm equipment.

So he asked for more financial backing to increase big agricultural investment.

The minister stated that agriculture, as the government’s economic diversification priority, requires stronger agro financing to support value chain activities.

He said the ministry was committed to addressing domestic food needs, promoting quality exports, and fostering an agro-business-friendly environment.

According to him, ‘’There is a deliberate strategic approach towards job creation, conservation of foreign exchange and attainment of food security.

Shehuri pointed out that the seed sub- sector is being repositioned to ensure that farmers have access to quality seeds to improve yields.

“The National Agricultural Seeds Council (NASC) under my watch has been directed to interface with key seed industry stakeholders to ensure that Early Generation Seeds (EGS) are structured to ensure uninterrupted supply of certified seeds,” he said.

He disclosed that, ‘’there is also on-going awareness campaign by NASC on the importance of using improved seeds to boost production’’, adding that the administrative bottlenecks that had previously hindered farmers from having easy access to fertilizer had been addressed.

The Minister further maintained Nigeria’s agriculture has done well in the areas such as Nigeria”being the world leading producer of yam( which is about 18.3 million metric tonnes), world leader in the production of cassava that has steadily risen to 70 million metric tonnes, ranks second as world producer of sorghum just after the United States of America, ranks fifth in the production of palm oil and cocoa and the share of Gross Domestic Product(GDP) contributed by agricultural sector in Nigeria has consistently been impressive year in year out.”

Commenting on Nigeria’s agricultural exports, Shehuri said: “Nigeria is a global player in agricultural export; in the year 2019, they are as follows: Sesame Seeds oil: N77.04 billion, Cocoa: N66.73 billion, Cashew Nuts: N45.6 billion, Frozen Shrimps and Prawns: N7.46 billion, Ginger: N3.34 billion, Processed & Semi Processed Agro Food: N1.84 billion and Cotton: N609.33 million.”

He emphasised that ‘’the potential in this strategic sector is enormous and there is enthusiasm and political will to return the agricultural sector as the highest contributor to the National Gross Domestic Product by the year 2025’’.
Other panelists at the virtual meeting include the Senior Special Advisor to the President on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Princess Adejoke Orelope Adefulire represented by her Assistant, Rose Keffas, Senior Special Advisor to the President on Agriculture, Dr. Andrew Kwasari, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Representative in Nigeria and to ECOWAS, Fred Kafeero, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) Country Programme Manager, Patrick Habamenshi, National President of All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Arc. Kabir Ibrahim, World Food Programme (WFP) Country Director, Ronald Sibanda among others

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