From Aidoghie Paulinus and Okwe Obi, Abuja
Women Enterprise Alliance (WENA) and development experts, have brainstormed on the challenges bedeviling the agricultural sector which has led to food crisis and slowed exports.
The event, titled ‘Rethinking Paradigm Shift in Agriculture and Initiative to Enhance Food Security,’ had in attendance, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mohammad Abubakar; Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu; the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Agriculture, Andrew Kwasari, among others.
Founder of WENA, Aisha Babangida, in her address yesterday in Abuja, identified inadequate financing, lack of legislative support and the use of obsolete tools as some of the problems.
Babaginda called on relevant authorities to modernise agriculture by providing financing, embracing organic farming, developing infrastructure, particularly storage facilities.
She added that government should get legislative support, develop a broad map, train farmers and provide adequate fertilizer.
According to her, productivity goes beyond farmers’ bottom line, but the ability of the country to feed its growing population.
“Over the next two days, this conference will rethink paradigm shift in agriculture and find ways to enhance food security.
“How? Through modernisation of agriculture, infrastructure development, legislative support, broad map development, technology transfer, agric finance, substantial agriculture in climate change and organic farming.
“To support agricultural activities, advancement of technology, and most importantly, it is important to device a realistic roadmap for agriculture,” Babangida said.
Babangida further explained that agriculture involves methodological sowing of beneficial plants, including rearing livestock under the supervision of man.
“Our farmers work tirelessly for the whole day in order that various products reach the market and can be accesses by people.
“Productivity involves more than just farmers’ bottom line, productivity empowers Nigerians to feed a growing population.
“It enables us to maintain agricultural trades that supports over a million jobs,” she added.
Babangida also said this year’s conference is organised to highlight the importance of agriculture and to spread awareness among the population.
“It is to foster sustainable growth and development within the agricultural sector through innovation and technology in the entire agribusiness value chain,” Babangida stated.
On his part, Abubakar assured participants that the Federal Government would do everything to boost food sufficiency in the country.
Abubakar noted that the upsurge of insecurity would not dampen the enthusiasm of government to guarantee food security, as it pledged to deploy Agro Ranchers to safeguard agrarian communities.
“It is no doubt that we are faced by myriad of challenges in the country of which the most is insecurity which has been a setback for our farmers and small scale businesses.
“Let me assure you that the government is putting all necessary measures to curtail this insurgency which will further promote more productivity and ensure food security,” Abubakar said.
In his remarks, the Guest Speaker, Valour Iduh, who spoke on ‘Trade and Challenges in Exporting Goods from Nigeria,’ tasked Nigerians to follow the guidelines of the receiving countries of their goods.
Iduh specifically implored citizens to get the certification of the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) before exporting in order to avoid rejection.