In order to accelerate the development of Nigeria’s agricultural sector and ensure food security, President Muhammadu Buhari has said that agriculture must be treated as a business.
The president stated this in Calabar yesterday while declaring open the 55th annual general meeting of Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA).
Buhari who was represented by the permanent secretary, Federal Ministry of Mines and Solid Minerals, Alhaji Baba-Umar Farouk, also advocated the active participation of the private sector towards developing agriculture in Nigeria.
He challenged participants at the conference to come up with useful recommendations that will advance Nigeria’s agricultural sector at the end of their deliberations.
The president said “Nigeria has huge agricultural potential with over 84 million hectares of arable land of which only 40 per cent is currently cultivated.The country has some of the richest natural resources for agricultural production in the world. The urgency of unlocking our agricultural potential is even more pertinent because Africa spends $35billion annually for food import. Agriculture must cease from being treated as development programme; agriculture must henceforth be treated as a business.”
Meanwhile, a researcher in Agricultural Science, Dr. Yemi Akinbamijo, has advocated greater participation of women and Nigerian youths in agribusiness in Nigeria.
Delivering his keynote address at the occasion, Akinbamijo, who is the executive director, Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), said the women in particular play a critical role in agricultural development in Nigeria.
According to him, “Women already contribute significantly to the development of households, communities and nation.
“They are the pillars of economic growth and development considering their predominant role in agriculture which is the backbone of most African economies.
“Hence, the need for NACCIMA to deliberately engage and support opportunities in Agribusiness that offers equal participation and benefits to women and youths moving forward”.
The occasion attracted Cross River State deputy governor, Prof Ivara Esu, seven past presidents of NACCIMA among other dignitaries and delegates across the nation.