The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) has listed some of its achievements across the agricultural value chain as part of activities to mark the coming 2020 World Food Day celebrated every October 16th.
According to the ministry, as a result of the Federal Government’s policy initiatives and innovative funding, Nigeria in 2019 emerged the largest producer of rice in Africa with a production of 9 million metric tonnes.
Also, in 2017, Nigeria ranked first in the production of cassava and yam with 59.4 million and 47.9 million metric tonnes respectively.
While the country ranked 14th in maize production with 10.42 million tons, it emerged 4th in Palm oil with 7.7 million tons in the same year.
Permanent Secretary of FMARD, Dr Abdulkadir Mu’azu, made these known on Wednesday during an address at the World Food Day Symposium held in Chida Hotel, Jabi, Abuja.
Mu’azu explained that the ministry through its policy direction has continued to ensure agricultural development in Nigeria.
He said, “In response to the world food security [efforts], the Ministry had imbibed the culture of promoting best practices in agricultural development using innovative technology and modern farming approaches.
“The Ministry has also fashioned out a clear policy direction to provide a road map for the strategic implementation of key programmes and projects.
“The Green Alternative framework features the first pillar on productivity enhancement for commodity value chain development as well as the incorporation of private investments and institutional alignment.
“The policy represents the support instruments for addressing land access, soil fertility, information, input access, production, storage, processing and marketing.
“The pillar also deals with agribusiness financing and investment, infrastructure, youth and women, research, nutrition and earning significant foreign exchange from agriculture, as well as stakeholders’ roles in consultation with partners in the agriculture sector.”
Mu’azu submitted that FMARD’s policy direction is designed to increase agricultural output, utilise dams and irrigation facilities, strengthen agricultural extension services, and implement a private sector-driven mechanization programme in Nigeria.
He added that the policy framework is also directed at streamlining the mandates and operations of research institutes, aligning the curricula of agricultural universities to the best technology and entrepreneurial practices and restructuring the bank of agriculture to promote agro-allied enterprises.
He further said that it seeks to collaborate with financial institutions to facilitate credits to agribusiness initiatives, mainstream youth and gender, increase employment opportunities and sustain the contribution of agriculture to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, the Agricultural Promotion Policy (APP) strategy would provide a disciplined approach to building an agribusiness ecosystem that would solve the challenges currently facing the agriculture sector.
“Let me inform you that our primary focus is to ensure a virile foundation, flowing from the implementation of the Green Alternative Policy,” he added.
The 2020 World Food Day, which marks the 75th anniversary of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, seeks to draw global attention to the issues behind poverty and hunger.
This year’s celebration, expected to be marked in more than 150 countries, has been themed: Grow, Nourish, Sustain. Together. Our Actions Are Our Future.