FG commits to prioritising processing of agriculture produce
Amid concerns that the Federal Government is not adding value to its agricultural commodities to boost income for the country, the Federal Government has reiterated commitment to prioritising the processing of agricultural produce to increase the sector’s contribution to Gross Domestic Product.
The Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Ernest Umakhihe, stated that the government would prioritise its processing capacity through the establishment of several cottage industries for the production of staple food products in a competitive and comparative advantage manner.
Umakhihe, while speaking at the opening ceremony of 45th Regular Meeting of the National Council on Agriculture and Rural Development (NCARD) in Jos, Plateau State, said government would ensure a steady off-take of produce from out-growers, enhance the income of farmers and entrepreneurs across all commodity value chains.
He said their aim was to achieve the desired success in government’s commitment to the provision of incentives, increase the output and quality of agricultural commodities to meet and surpass national requirements as well as achieve a diversified economic base with agriculture leading the way for the non-oil sectors of the economy.
The Permanent Secretary, who was represented by the Director, Department of Agriculture Land and Climate Change Management Services, Shehu Bello, revealed plans by government to collaborate with the states among other stakeholders, to improve agricultural commodity value chain development in the sector to enhance livelihood of the smallholder farmers as well as modify the commodity Value Chain Development processes.
In his welcome address, the Plateau State, Commissioner of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Hosea Finangwai, appealed that the memorandum for the upgrade of the Potato Station at Karu be given priority on its merit, saying the state accounted for over 90 per cent of the production, livelihood and income of farmers was threatened by the monstrous potato blight.