The Federal Government said on Thursday that a lot of opportunities abounded in the agricultural sector as over 56 per cent of available agricultural land was still not in use.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Mohammad Abubakar, stated this in Jos on Thursday while addressing participants at the ongoing 45th regular meeting of the National Council on Agriculture and Rural Development.
According to the Minister, “Nigeria is endowed with a total of 79million hectares of agricultural land with only 44% being cultivated. The nation also has 267 billion cubic meters of fresh surface water and 58 billion cubic meters of underground water, with 37 billion cubic meters only stored in dams. Annual rainfall in the country is within 300mm to 4,000mm. Conversely, potential irrigable area is about 3.14 million hectares with less than 7% utilised presently.”
The Minister, however, said that the government was doing all it could to encourage agriculture, having trained 153,124 women and youths on crop, fishery and livestock value chains and empowered 142,703. He said the government had also trained 214,787 farmers on Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and 220,018 farmers on Farmer Business School.
To improve on performance, the Minister said that the Federal Government was strengthening the linkage between research, agriculture and industry by intensifying the commodity value chain development process.
“This is being guided by the new framework of the National Agricultural Technology and Innovation Policy, 2022-2027, launched in August 2022, which seeks to modernize the agricultural sector in line with changing global food systems and supply chains.
“Actually, NATIP is the Ministry’s response to the present Administration Agenda of diversifying the nation’s economy from petroleum oil-based to Agriculture and solid minerals. The document serves as successor policy of the Agricultural Promotion Policy, 2016-2020, with a view to developing priority value chains on the basis of comparative ecological advantage across crops, livestock and fisheries sub-sectors in collaboration with the States Government.
“In pursuant of our mandate of ensuring food security, employment generation and wealth creation in the country, the Ministry is committed to supporting the establishment of over 100 processing centres in the rural communities across the nation under the Green Imperative Project of a private-driven mechanization programme.”