The shortage of essential crops in Nigeria is becoming a matter of great concern, as expressed by Abubakar Kyari, the minister of Agriculture and Food Security. Staple crops like rice, wheat, cassava, soybean, millet, sorghum, and many others are experiencing a worrying decrease in availability within the nation. During a workshop in Abuja last Friday, the minister emphasised the importance of addressing food shortages in order to achieve food sufficiency in Nigeria. At the event organised by the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN), Kyari urged the Council to focus on research that aligns with President Bola Tinubu’s food security mandate.
Scarcity of those essential food crops is becoming alarming. These crops play a crucial role in ensuring the food security of the nation. Consequently, this was the primary motivation behind President Bola Ahmed Tinubu decision to prioritise food security as the foremost aspect of his comprehensive eight-point agenda aimed at fostering economic growth within the country. The agricultural sector holds the key to revolutionising the nation’s economy, addressing the escalating needs for sustenance, employment, industry, and nourishment.
Socio-economic transformation and livelihoods will be enhanced.
Speaking further at the event, Abdullahi Sabi, who is the minister of State for the ministry who represented Kyari, expressed that the enhancement of agricultural productivity holds a crucial role in bringing socio-economic transformation as well as better livelihoods to the vast majority of the people. He also clarified that the government’s initiative to establish spinoff companies aimed at commercialising research products as well as innovations generated by research institutions is part of their strategy to empower these institutions.
Enhancing agricultural efficiency has undeniably uplifted countless individuals from the suffering of food scarcity and impoverished conditions, propelling them towards a secured food supply and enhanced livelihoods. To foster an agricultural revolution, the key lies in the space of research and training. These pillars stand as the backbone of agricultural progress and are of utmost importance to the ministry as they strive to reshape the National Agricultural Research System to achieve heightened productivity. The ARCN Act’s implementation remains the key drive for Nigeria’s Federal Government, underscoring its significance.
Practical application will be prioritised over excessive theory.
To enhance the funding for research, training, and extension activities, it is imperative for them to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of this platform, consequently augmenting their generated revenue. During this notable event, he gave a clear directive to the Colleges, emphasising the importance of putting a strong focus on vocational and skill acquisition in their training programs. Also, he anticipates their training programs to prioritise practical applications over excessive theoretical knowledge. The training programmes aim to equip the beneficiaries with a hands-on and functional comprehension of agricultural enterprises.
Also, in order to bring about the desired outcome, he further explained that it is important for the ARCN to collaborate with pertinent participants in the agricultural education sub-sector to fulfil this instruction. It is pertinent to remember the earlier instruction, which emphasised utilising available lands within agricultural research and training institutions for agricultural production. Therefore, it is reiterated that all entities should actively participate in this Ministry initiative, which aims to enhance food production across the nation.
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He acknowledges that the purpose of this gathering is to exchange ideas in order to generate initiatives that span multiple domains, including technological advancements in machinery, enhancing genetic capabilities, extending outreach services, and cultivating a mindset among youngsters to view agriculture as a profitable enterprise. Similarly, Garba Sharubutu, the executive secretary of ARCN, mentioned during his speech that the primary objective of this workshop was to enhance the capabilities of researchers and amplify the influence of agricultural research in the nation.