Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar, has projected that the agricultural sector would contribute over 50per cent to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) over the next 10 years.
Abubakar stated this on Thursday in Abuja at the roundtable to discuss and share success stories and mentorship as part of activities to celebrate the 2021 World Food Day.
Abubakar explained that with concerted efforts of agro-preneurs, the contribution of agriculture to the Nigerian economy would increase exponentially from 23% to over 50% in the next 10years.
He said agriculture has a long-standing role in Nigeria’s economy with 70% of the population being engaged in the sector, adding that a recent survey by the National Bureau for Statistics (NBS) indicates that the agricultural sector contributed 23.78% to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), thus topping seven other sectors with the most contribution.
According to him, “The sector has the potential to be a key driver of growth, job and wealth creation given the country’s viable agro-ecological zones, youthful population and agro-industrial linkages, and to lift a sizeable number of the population out of poverty.
“The 5.01% of the 2nd quarter, 2021 GDP increase was possible due to the investments in food processing and manufacturing.
“It is on record that government economic diversification policy to agriculture, as an alternative to oil and gas, and the investment of agro-preneurs projected Nigeria to become the largest producer of rice in Africa from 2019, the first in Cassava and Yam production globally.
“It also ranked the 14th in maize production and 4th in palm oil. Now we have notable domestic brands in rice that are competing with foreign international brands.
“And that is how we will actualise the vision of President Buhari of lifting 100million Nigerians out of poverty in 10years.”
He, however, noted that the expectation of the present administration to take Nigeria to the promised land could only be achieved when Nigeria’s entrepreneurs take deliberate actions to invest in different agricultural value-chains.
He said: “The potentials across crops, livestock, horticulture and fisheries sub-sectors are enormous.
“Therefore, it is the ingenuity of entrepreneurs like some of you here that would add value to our products and guarantee the revenue generation potentials of the sector.
Commenting on the essence of the roundtable discussion, the minister explained that it is an innovation in the celebration of this year’s World Food Day, adding that the forum was organised to share the success stories, elicit interest and mentor the interested persons.
Addressing agro-preneurs, he said “sharing your success stories would therefore serve as motivation to our teeming youth, who are the future of Nigeria, to see agriculture as a promising sector they could build a successful career.
“It is the involvement of entrepreneurs like you that would provide innovative solutions to the immense challenges in the sector.”
The theme for the 2021 World Food Day (WFD) is, “Our Actions are our Future. Better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life.”
The objective of the celebration is “to promote worldwide effective action to end hunger, malnutrition, and poverty and ensuring that everyone at all times and place have physical and economic access to nutritious food.”