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Agric Sector in Need of Financial Support to Boost Investments – Shehuri

The Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Mustapha Shehuri has harped on the need for more financial support to boost investments in the agriculture sector.

This was disclosed recently during a virtual high-level panel discussion to round off activities in celebration of the 2021 World Food Day.

Shehuri noted that agriculture, being the focus of the Government’s diversification agenda, deserved better funding, to provide credit facilities that would support the sector’s value chain activities.

He affirmed that the ministry was strongly committed to meeting domestic food requirements, exporting at qualitative levels and creating a favourable business environment that would make agribusinesses thrive.

The minister pointed out that the seed sub-sector supply chain was being repositioned to ensure that farmers had access to quality seeds to improve yields.

“The National Agricultural Seed 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.

“There is also an ongoing awareness campaign by the Council on the importance of using improved seeds to boost production,” Shehuri said.

The administrative bottlenecks, the minister further disclosed, that had previously hindered farmers’ easy access to fertilizer had been addressed, while the partnership with the Government of Brazil to pilot the establishment of 117 mechanisation centres across the country was ongoing.

“When these centres are completed and made operational, farmers will be able to buy mechanisation services for a fee, with relative ease, and without the need to own expensive equipment for farm operations,” he stated.

Shehuri added that Nigeria has done well under Buhari’s administration being a world leader in yam production at 18.3 million metric tonnes (MT) and cassava at 70 million MT.

“Nigeria is a global player in agricultural export and in 2019 it recorded 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.

“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,” the minister said.

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Sourced from Agro Nigeria

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