For Nigeria’s agriculture sector to be at par with countries like Israel, the Netherland and others that have recorded huge success, the Federal Government must ensure sustainable financing of all sectors involved in agriculture research and development.
Former President, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD),Dr. Kanayo Nwanze, disclosed this in Lagos. Nwanze spoke at the International Conference and Expo on Research and Innovations in Agriculture (ICERIA), organised by AgroTimes Limited. He called for a tripod partnership among government, research institutions and industries; to ensure that agro industries are sited in rural areas where they can add value than where they are currently located.
Director General, Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN) Commission, Seye Oyeleye also called on government to make agriculture attractive, especially to the youth.“Government should make agriculture attractive to young men and women, for them to see agriculture as an economic activity, as a money-making business like Aliko Dangote does.
“People still think of agriculture as hoe and cutlass; we all know it has nothing to do with hoe and cutlass anymore. That is why we are talking about research and innovation in agriculture. Israel, for example, grows food that it sends to the world from a place that is a desert 70 years ago; and Holland, now called The Netherland, a tiny country, sitting on water, is the largest exporter of flour in the world. They are able to do that due to research and innovation in farming technology, but here at home, we are talkers.”
The Chairman on the occasion, Taiwo Obe, who is the Founder, Journalism Clinic, noted that innovation comes out of what is impossible. “We must be able to put into action whatever we hear from the guest speaker and the panelists, for dissemination by the media and for government to implement.”Earlier, in his address, David Baro-Thomas, Editor-in-Chief, AgroTimes, said the conference was organised as part of the organisation’s ways of contributing to the reportage of the sector, and to showcase innovations in the agric sector.