Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Muhammad Sabo Nanono, has said that Nigeria still has a lot to do to attain her food self-sufficiency target.
Nanono said the country needs 100 to 200 tractors per square kilometre of land to improve the level of mechanisation of her agriculture.
The minister stated this on Monday in Abuja while speaking at a policy seminar of the African Economic Research Consortium (AERC).
He said that despite the interventions from the Central Bank of Nigeria, agriculture in the country has witnessed poor growth.
He added that lack of mechanisation, uncoordinated market access, and poor logistics have made the potentials in the sector remain untapped.
According to him, “We still have poor extension workers as well as the issue of logistics. We need to create mobility for goods and services.
“We have up to 92 million hectares of arable land but we have only been able to cultivate about four million hectares because we are still using the old method of farming in place of mechanisation.”
Nanano further noted that the development of the agriculture sector was critical to addressing the issues of unemployment and malnutrition in Nigeria.
This, he said, held the potential to create jobs through its various value chains.
On her part, the Executive Director of AERC, Professor Njuguna Ndung’u, decried the dearth of quality data to properly inform policies on nutrition.
The don observed that combined efforts must be taken to tackle the menace so that Nigeria could achieve the best nutrition outcomes.
Ndung’u also said that there has been lack of high-quality policy analyses to understand the effect of agricultural policies on nutrition.
He added that AERC’s mission was to strengthen the capacity of locally-based researchers to conduct relevant policy studies into economic problems.