Nigerian government develops new agricultural policy to drive the sector

GBB Managing Director, Prof. Muhammad Abubakar, gave the assurance at a 3-day virtual ATU conference organised to mark the day on Tuesday in Abuja.

The Federal Government has begun the development of a new agricultural policy tagged National Agricultural Technology and Innovation Policy (NATIP) covering 2021 – 2025.

Dr Muhammad Mahmood Abubakar, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, revealed this on Friday in Abuja at a media briefing to commemorate 2021 World Food Day.

It would be recalled that former President Goodluck Jonathan introduced the Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) in 2012, which was an initiative of the Federal Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Development.

The goal of the ATA was “to build commodity value chains and the institutions required to unlock the country’s huge agricultural potentials with the targeted outcome such as add 20 million tons of food to the domestic food supply by 2015, create 3.4 million jobs and ensuring import substitution through the acceleration of production of local staples; aimed at reducing dependence on food imports and turning Nigeria into a net food exporter”

The ATA was built on the principle that agriculture is a serious business and should be supported.

Under President Muhammadu Buhari, Agricultural Promotion Policy (APP)(2016–2020) was floated, as it centred on food security, import substitution, job creation and economic diversification.

It focused on making Nigeria’s agriculture more productive, efficient and effective; creating jobs, generating foreign exchange and reducing food importation; while the APP was designed to address two main challenges – the inability to meet domestic food requirements, and an inability to export at levels required for market success.

Commenting on the upcoming NATIP, Abubakar said it is being developed to provide an integrated approach to agricultural development in terms of access and application of improved inputs, linkages between agricultural research and training institutions, input provision for farmers, agricultural mechanisation, extension services, provision of rural Infrastructure, access to affordable funding, climate change management and sustainable agriculture, nutrition, and security of agricultural land and investments.

The Minister further disclosed that a National Policy on Agricultural Extension of Nigeria and the Policy Implementation Strategy (PIS) has also been developed, which is awaiting presentation to the National Economic Council, Federal Executive Council and the National Assembly for approval and legislation.

The policy, according to him, when approved would improve agricultural extension services in the country and help increase better production and better environment.

To boost food production, he said, the Ministry had partnered with the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative to ensure adequate domestic production and marketing of NPK fertilizers at an affordable commercial rate and timely delivery to farmers.

“This has aided resuscitation of 41 blending plants, quality control, created about 250,000 jobs, saved foreign exchange and support food security in the country.

“It has also increased annual production of cash crops. In addition, the National Fertilizer Quality Control Act 2019 to provide regulatory framework aimed at guaranteeing the supply and distribution of quality fertilizers and other farm inputs to farmers for food security has been launched,” the minister explained.

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