The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Mohammad Abubakar, has said the federal government is committed to industrialising the agricultural sector for increased productivity, efficiency and competitiveness across local and international frontiers.
He also urged Nigerians to henceforth, invest in agriculture, and see it as a business platform and a haven for investment, which would sufficiently satisfy the socio-economic needs of its practitioners and grow the economy.
The minister spoke at the opening of the maiden National Agribusiness Stakeholders and Investors Summit and Nigerian Farmers Agribusiness Award themed, “Promoting Excellence in Agribusiness For Sustainable Agricultural Development in Nigeria.”
He said the federal government has deliberately designed agricultural investment incentives to support high level private sector participation adding that while some of these incentives are in form of tax holidays, exemptions and reliefs, there are many that leverage on specific government policies, performances of companies as well as relevant international investment treaties.
According to him, the agro-industry is experiencing revitalisation with dedicated federal government policies towards encouraging farmers and investors as well as grow the nation’s economy.
He pointed out that the government is integrating food production, storage, food processing and industrial manufacturing to establish the linkages necessary in the agricultural commodity value chain.
Abubakar said the value chain as a development strategy considers the role of the players from food production to consumption and is designed to empower the smallholder producers, ensure that processors have good quality raw materials and the consumers accept products with satisfaction.
He said,”It is remarkable that in the past three years Nigeria has taken a leading role globally in Cassava, Yam, Maize, Palm oil and Rice production. We are currently the largest producer of rice in Africa with a production level of over 9 million metric tons from 2019.”
He reiterated the ministry’s commitment and readiness to regularly engage relevant stakeholders in both the Public and Private sectors of the economy with noble and novel ideas to move Nigeria’s agricultural economy forward.
Earlier, the Permanent Secretary, Dr. Ernest Umakhihe, said the private sector would remain in the lead as process drivers for the agricultural sector, while the government continues to facilitate as well as provide supporting infrastructures, systems, control processes and oversight.
Represented by Director, Special Duties in the Ministry, Mrs Fausat Lawal, he said the forum will serve as a veritable platform to create awareness, sensitization and interactions among our farmers, agripreneurs, investors, policymakers and other stakeholders on policy reforms, and other developments in the agricultural sector.