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Why agric sector is underdeveloped, by minister

By Joke Falaju, Abuja
17 December 2019   |   3:06 am
Minister of Agriculture, Sabo Nanono, has lamented poor development of the agricultural sector, insisting that the nation’s problem is not a lack of resources

Minister of Agriculture, Sabo Nanono, has lamented poor development of the agricultural sector, insisting that the nation’s problem is not a lack of resources but a lack of focus and organization.

“The problem of this country is not lack of resources, the country is blessed in terms of resources, but we are just not organized and not focused, and whether we like it or not, we just have to reduce urban politics in our business, especially agricultural business,” he said.

Nanono, who addressed Agriculture Development Partner Working Group made up of USAID, IFAD, IITA, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, among others, yesterday in Abuja said Nigeria needed to make itself organized and focused and use the instrument of public policy, which he noted been fractured and misdirected, to the nation’s advantage. “If you don’t manage the policy in the right way and manner, taking into interest your own country, you will have a lot of problems.”

The minister commended the donor agencies for coming up with different value chain approaches to develop the sector but said that the value chain of lifting subsistence farmers to a point of business was not well entrenched. He stressed the need for a sustainable value chain both vertically and horizontally to create large opportunity for job creation.

Nanono urged the donor agencies to assist the Federal Government to key into programmes designed for the small and medium-scale farmers, with a view to developing them into big business owners to be able to take advantage of the opportunities that are springing up in the agricultural industries.

To achieve this, he said: “As a ministry, we must change our tactics, be proactive, move away from the normal civil service procedure. We have to be more business-like and I think we are moving towards that direction. There is going to be a major change so that we can take advantage of the opportunities that abound in the sector. If we say we would follow the normal bureaucracy that we are used to years after years, it its not going to work out.”

Nanono also urged the donor agencies to assist the government in increasing the number of extension workers, saying a country with a population of over 200million people, and farming population of estimated 70million people should not have just 14000 extension agents.

The minister appealed to Nigerians to stop blaming the government for the border closure. “We cannot have a tiny country destroying our own.”

The Director, Country Alignment, IITA, Dr Kwesi Atta-krah, commended the Federal Government for maintaining policy consistency. He urged the government to do more in coordination and organization among the states.