By Adelola Amihere
As a way of encouraging farmers and attracting more participation in the agricultural sector, stakeholders have called on both federal and state governments to establish minimum price guarantee schemes for farm produce.
The Chairman, Board of Trustees, National Agricultural Foundation of Nigeria (NAFN) and Chairman Senate Committee on Agriculture, Senator Abdullahi Adamu made the appeal at the opening of the 11th National Agricultural Show and Exhibition in Keffi yesterday which has its theme ‘Strategies for Promoting Export of Agricultural products’.
According to him, “up to this point, a Nigerian farmer in any given commodity is not guided by any price regime to channel his or her efforts in agricultural productions. Farmers are left at the mercy of Shylocks.
“For those of us who are either farmers or agricultural experts, we know that agriculture in Nigeria has for decades been practised at the subsistence level even though about 70-80% of the country’s population depends on it for their livelihood. This is fundamentally why we harness much lower yields from our agricultural production and at much slower pace.”
He, however, called for stakeholders in the sector to embrace modern agricultural technologies that would boost productivity across all value chains, saying “we must collaborate with government at the three tiers as well as entrepreneurs to establish better storage facilities”.
Speaking further, Senator Abdullahi who lamented that over 80% of the agric research efforts were wasting on the shelves called on both state and federal government to domesticate the numerous agric researches so as to remain on track towards achieving the national target for self-sufficiency.
Earlier in his address, the Director General, Food and Agriculture Organisation, FAO who was represented by Mr. Suffyan Koroma, County Representative FAO, said that current global food system have increased the availability and accessibility of processed food.
“Food system must be transformed in a way that all people can consume healthy and nutritious food.
“It must be a collective effort toward healthy diet that include the creation of norms such as labelling and banning of some harmful ingredients, introduction of nutrition in the school curriculum.
In his keynote address, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh represented by the Permanent Secretary, Dr Muazu Abdulkadir reiterated government s commitment towards eradicating hunger by 2030.
For him, “Achieving food security requires an integrated approach that address all forms of malnutrition, productivity, incomes of small scale food producers, resilience of food system and sustainable use of biodiversity and genetic resources”.