Collaboration between government, research institutes, farmers and processors has been recommended by stakeholders to drive economic growth of the Agric Industry.
They noted that the relationship would also ensure that agro-industries are sited in rural areas where they can add value, to enhance food security and economic advancement of the country.
These were part of the recommendations made at the 2019 International Conference and Expo on Research and Innovations In Agriculture (ICERIA), hosted by Agrobusiness Times, in Lagos.
The panelists acknowledged the importance of creating sustainable agriculture systems that would encourage improved yield, noting that self-sufficiency in the sector has immense benefits for the country.
The Keynote Speaker, Dr. Kanayo Nwanze, a former President of International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), said the Federal Government should not expect Nigeria’s transformation to happen through foreign direct investments and partnerships, as the country must do it by itself.
He said: “Federal Government should develop policies that would distinguish the country in the areas of innovation, research, and export of agricultural products. Government must ensure sustainable financing of all sectors involved in agriculture research and development. Funds are also needed to scale up off taking of research findings from the shelves of researchers and the establishment of demonstration farms.
“The sector remains the largest employer of labour, accordingly, the government should make agriculture attractive to young men and women to appreciate it as an economic activity and money-making business because people still think of agriculture as hoe and cutlass business.”
The participants and panelists advocated a yearly gathering of stakeholders within the sector for more discourses towards harnessing and optimising research outcomes and innovations that could shape the industry and advance the nation’s economy.
“Farmers should engage more in integrated farming to save cost and maximize profit, while agriculture centres should commence work on waste to wealth programmes and projects. The need for elaborate mechanised farming schemes by the government is also essential,” the conference said.