The Federal Government of Nigeria has called for collaboration with States to bridge the missing link in food production and implementation of agricultural policies.
The Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Mustapha Shehuri who made the call on Thursday at the inaugural meeting of the Community of Practice, (CoP), for State Commissioners of Agriculture and Rural Development in Abuja said there is need for the States and other critical stakeholders including the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), to be under one roof to address issues affecting synergy in the agricultural space.
He also explained that the aim of the meeting was to brief the Commissioners on the concept and justification for establishing the CoP,
” Your presence as key players in the agricultural sector is to address strategic priorities and ensure effective policy implementation in the agricultural system.
” The main objective of having a CoP is to build a common platform for the planning streamlining and implementation of Agricultural policies and programmes across the 36 States of the Federation and the FCT.
“Primarily, CoP is formed to assist the Ministry in areas of additional knowledge, expertise and experience to move together on the same pathway.
“As you are aware, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has the mandates to ensure food security in crops, livestock and fisheries.
” Also stimulate agricultural growth, create employment, promote the production and supply of raw materials to agro industries, generate foreign exchange and more importantly stimulate rural economy.
‘ For us to sustain the achievement in agricultural sector, it requires strong knowledge bases that should be constantly updated.
” It further requires expediently, that we must all work together to develop innovative ways for solving different problems facing agricultural sector to achieve a common goal,” he said.
In a paper presentation, Ms Ene Obi, Country Director, ActionAid Nigeria, called for commitment to food production by collaborating under the auspices of CoP in order to foster expected synergy between the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and State Ministries of Agriculture.
The paper was titled ‘Power in People’ An Overview of CoP for States Commissioners for Agriculture.
“The collaboration can bring assistance, we collectively have a lot of challenges to surmount together in the agriculture sector.
“Nigeria imported agricultural products valued at N1.97 trillion in 2021, surging by 42 per cent year-on-year compared to N1.19 trillion recorded in the previous year.
” This also represents the highest amount on record spent on agricultural imports in any year.
“Our post-harvest losses is estimated at N3.5 trillion annually with each state and LGA having its own large share
In a goodwill message, the Food and Agriculture Organisation, FAO, Representative in Nigeria and to the ECOWAS, Fred Kafeero, said the organisation is ready to support CoP and agriculture in Nigeria.
Meanwhile, the Managing Partner, Sahel Consulting, Temi Adegoroye, said that they were committed to continuous collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and other stakeholders to achieve food and nutrition security.