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Agric must be treated as business, says President

Farm workers on farm Image: Reuters

Farm workers on farm Image: Reuters

TO enhance the capacity of the agricultural sector to ensure food security, President Mohammadu Buhari has promised to treat agriculture strictly as business.

Buhari, who declared open the 55th Annual General Meeting of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) yesterday, described agriculture as a good alternative to oil.

Represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Mines and Solid Minerals, Baba-Umar Farouk, the President challenged participants at the conference to come out with useful recommendations that would advance Nigeria’s agricultural sector.

He further charged the private sector to participate in developing agriculture in the country because, “Nigeria has huge agricultural potentials with over 84 million hectares of arable land, of which only 40 per cent is currently cultivated.

“The country has some of the richest natural resources for agricultural production in the world. The urgency of unlocking our agricultural potentials is even more pertinent because Africa spends $35 billion annually on food import. Agriculture must seize from being treated as development programme and henceforth be treated as business.”

Meanwhile, a researcher in the field, Dr. Yemi Akinbamijo, has advocated greater participation of women and Nigerian youths in the nation’s agribusiness.
In his keynote address at the occasion, the executive director of Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), said that women in particular play critical role in agricultural development in Nigeria.

According to him, “women are the pillars of economic growth and development considering their predominant role in agriculture, which is the backbone of most African economies.

“Hence, NACCIMA should deliberately engage and support opportunities in agribusiness that offers equal participation and benefits to women and youths.”

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