Minister assures making agric sector highest contributor to GDP by 2025
By Nneka Nwogwugwu
The Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Honourable Mustapha Baba Shehuri, has assured that the agricultural sector will by 2025 become highest contributor to National Gross Domestic Product.
Shehuri said this during a virtual high level panel discussion on Monday to round off activities earmarked to celebrate the 2021 World Food Day.
“The potential in this strategic sector is enormous and there is enthusiasm and political will to return the Agricultural Sector as the highest contributor to the National Gross Domestic Product by the year 2025,” he said.
He noted that Nigeria’s agriculture has done well in this present administration in areas such as ; being the World leading producer of yam 18.3 million MT, World leader in the production of Cassava that has steadily risen to 70 million metric tonnes and ranked second as World producer of Sorghum just after the United State of America.
Nigeria has also been ranked as the fifth in the production of Palm oil and Cocoa and share of Gross Domestic Production contributed by Agricultural Sector in Nigeria has consistently been impressive, Year in year out.
He added that, “Nigeria is a Global player in agricultural Export; in year 2019 are as follows: Sesame Seeds oil: N77.04 billion, Cocoa: N66.73 billion, Cashew Nuts: N45.6 billion, Frozen Shrimps and Prawns: N7.46 billion, Ginger: N3.34 billion, Processed & Semi Processed Agro Food: N1.84 billion and Cotton: N609.33 million.”
The Minister solicited more financial support to upscale the massive investment in the agricultural sector.
He said Agriculture being the focus of government’s diversification agenda deserves a better agro financing to provide credit facilities to support the sector’s Value Chain activities.
The Minister said the ministry is strongly committed to meeting the domestic Food requirement, Exporting at qualitative levels and creation of favorable business environment to make Agro business thrive.
Shehuri pointed out that the seed sub- sector supply chain is being repositioned to ensure that the farmers have access to quality seeds to improve yield. “The National Agricultural Seed Council (NASC) under my watch has been directed to interface with key seed Industry Stakeholders to ensure that Early Generation Seeds (EGS) are structured to ensure uninterrupted supply of certified seeds’’.
He disclosed that, ‘’there is also on-going awareness campaign by the Council on the importance of using improved seeds to boost production’’, adding that the administrative bottlenecks that previously hindered farmers easy access to fertilizer have been addressed.
Speaking further, the minister stated that “the partnership with Government of Brazil to pilot the establishment of 117 Mechanization centers across the country is on- going. According to him, “When these centers are completed, and operational, farmers will be able to buy mechanization services for a fee with relative ease without need to own expensive equipment for farm operations’’.