In its continuous drive to place agriculture as a viable alternative as the mainstay of the economy as well as provide a post retirement plan, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD)has conducted a sensitisation drive workshop on agriculture for the leadership, officers and men of the Nigeria Air Force.
Senior Adviser to the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Winifred Ochinyabo who delivered a keynote address at the workshop held at the NAF Headquarters in Abuja pointed out that the move became necessary so as to ensure that agriculture on a large scale can be taken to the next level.
She said, “The purpose of the training is to ensure that the nation’s agriculture on a large scale can be taken to the next level.
“Food security is an integral part of national security, that is why the armed forces and its like whose mandate is to ensure national security cannot afford to avoid attaining food security. In other words participation of the armed forces in agriculture can never be seen as an incursion into unfamiliar ground”.
Speaking further, the SA added that “Other reasons behind the training is to ensure that officers and men of the NAF are never again to be embarrassed with cash paucity after retirement.”
Also speaking, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, represented by the Chief of Administration, Air Vice Marshall Lawal Alao commended the initiative of the ministry in the sensitisation training for its men
According to him, his men have now been exposed to the many opportunities in the agricultural value chain in forms of processing, storage and marketing.
“A lot of us are better informed. We hope that now we have a desk officer attached to the Nigerian Air Force, it will give us an opportunity to even extend the information to the field units through the various commands that we have in the Air Force so that our personnel can benefit from the opportunities in agriculture.
The AVM however noted that “Prior to this too, the Chief of Air staff, Air Vice Marshall Abubakar had already created a programme called the Barrack Youth Empowerment Through Agriculture, which is already in place in most of our units, and this involves exposing our families, our wards in the units to agriculture, using the available land space within the Airforce to make even if it is a very small cash crop, so this will definitely add value to what we have already started and what we plan to do,” he said.
Presenting a lecture on the topic Opportunities and Agribusiness Enterprises in the Nigeria Agricultural Sector, Director of Agricultural Business, Processing and Marketing, Alhaji Azeez Olumuyiwa said, “The need to train the officers is because section 5 of the Nigerian Constitution encourages civil servants and members of the NAF to participate in agriculture.”
He said, “Officers and men of the NAF can benefit from participating in various areas of agriculture including production, processing, storage, marketing Research and bio-fuels development.”