The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) on Thursday hosted a retreat with Chief Executives and Chairmen of Boards of its Parastatals.
The interactive meeting tagged, “Retreat on Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture for Chief Executives and Chairmen of Governing Boards of Parastatals,” was held at Chida International Hotel, Abuja and was attended by the Honourable Minister of Agriculture, Alh Muhammed Sabo Nanono, the Honourable Minister of State, Alhaji Mustapha Shehuri, the Permanent Secretary, Dr. Abdulkadir Mu’azu and Directors of FMRAD.
In his keynote address, the Minister underscored the importance of the meeting in revisiting existing synergy strategies and strengthening collaboration with the Ministry’s Parastatals to fast track the actualization of Nigeria’s food security goals.
According to him, the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration sees agriculture as a medium for strengthening strategic partnership and sectoral linkages for import-substitution, enterprise development, value-added processing and economic diversification.
‘’In line with the Ministry’s signed deliverables with the Presidency, the priority areas for food security entails engagement with state and non-state actors to facilitate programmes to farmers on mechanization, extension delivery, commodity production, storage facilities, agro-processing, grazing reserves, livestock transformation and fisheries’’, he said.
In light of the above, he urged the Parastatals present to adhere to the Administrative Guidelines and Procedures on relationship between Ministries and Parastatals, in order to ensure orderliness, transparency and consensus in the conceptualization and implementation of policies, programmes and projects.
‘’These must be adhered to henceforth and in between is the need for consensus in the handling of policy, as well as sectoral and personnel matters in a manner that forestalls misrepresentation, misconception and poor guidance.
‘’Everybody is looking at the agriculture sector for answers to the problems of Nigeria. When we reviewed our COVID-19 performance, only the agriculture sector of all real sectors recorded considerable growth. All eyes are on us and we need to re-commit to the development of the sector by aligning progress made, fine-tuning strategies and streamlining interventions.
“The Ministry is open to constructive interface, concepts and initiatives that will help guide and fast track the implementation of our policies, programmes and projects’’, he said.
He added that the rice and maize value chains of the agriculture sector are critical to actualizing Nigeria’s food security agenda and should be enhanced accordingly.
Chairman, House Committee on Agriculture Colleges and Institutes, Hon. Munir Baba, commended the Parastatals present on their repositioned administrative structures, adding that a committee should be set up for periodic review of their performances going forward.
Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Dr. Mu’azu Abdulkadir, on his part stressed the importance of being conversant with mandates, rules, guidelines, and procedures to synchronize the delivery of interventions in the sector at the Ministry and Parastatals’ levels.
The Director, Planning and Policy Coordination, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Zubairu Abdullahi in his paper presentation titled, ‘’Strengthening the Relationship between Ministry and its Parastatals through Strategic Communication’,’ underscored the importance of inter/intra agency linkages in enhancing collaboration and bridging the communication gaps and disconnect between Ministry and its Parastatals, as well as Governing Boards and their Chief Executives.
According to him, a good working relationship between all parties will go a long way to fast track Nigeria’s food security mandate.
He also charged the research institutions present on the need to re-evaluate their research delivery mechanisms to reflect the actual realities of the sector, referencing the joint sectoral evaluation report of key agricultural development organizations which indicated that the food security status of Nigeria was not as bad as was widely reported.
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