Dr Bukar Hassan, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said on Tuesday, November,28, that agriculture remained the best alternative to grow and develop the economy.
Hassan said this at the opening of 2017/2018 National Agricultural Extension Review and Planning Meeting held at the National Agricultural Extension and Research Liaison Services (NAERLS), Zaria, Kaduna State.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the theme of the review meeting is “Extension: The Driver of Knowledge and Innovation in the Nigerian Agricultural Value Chain”.
Represented by the Director, Federal Agricultural Extension in the ministry, Hajiaya Karima Babangida, Hassan called for meaningful contributions toward developing the agriculture sector.
“We should note that ideas rule the world and the information we put together here will form the bases of Nigeria’s improvement in agriculture which is our best alternative for growth.
“It is believed that the more people are involved in agriculture and agri-business, the faster the economy will grow and develop to compete favorably with powerful nations of the world both politically and economically.
“The solutions to the problems encountered by farmers in Nigeria is dependance on the information that will be provided by the experts in agricultural research and extension services.”
He expressed the hope that the forum would be used to harmonise all stakeholders’ activities in agricultural research and extension services in order to evolve a synchronised calendar of activities.
He further said that the meeting would serve as a means of strengthening partnership among stakeholders in the field of extension service delivery in Nigeria.
In his speech, the Vice-Chancellor, Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Prof. Ibrahim Garba, commended the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration for unlocking the full potential of the agriculture sector.
Garba, represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academics, Prof. Ezra Amans, said canvassed for the financing for all sub-sectors to encourage entrepreneurs and youths to embrace agriculture.
He stressed the need to accelerate the growth of the sector to increase productivity, enhance export capacity and attain national food security.
Earlier, the Director, NAERLS, Prof. Mohammed Khalid-Othman, noted that government policy and support had resulted in the influx of investors.
“On our part in NAERLS, we believe the agricultural potential in Nigeria lie with the youths. Thus, we have actively championed the training of youths at various levels from secondary school levels to fresh graduates of tertiary institutions.
“At the secondary school level, we have engaged more than 100 schools across the nation under “Adopted School Project.”
He said the institute was presently discussing with World Food Prize Foundation for the conversion of the adopted schools to Nigeria Youth Institute, a branch of Global Youth Institute, with international support of agricultural innovations and creativity.
It reported that the opening of the review meeting was preceded by exhibition and field show of agricultural implements and inputs.