The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar, has said the Federal Government is working to come up with some stimulant that will bring down the soaring prices of food items in the country.
Abubakar made this disclosure during his working visit to the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN) in Abuja.
He assured that ‘’The Federal Government is also working with international organizations to improve the agricultural sector in order to enhance food production that will be sufficient for Nigeria’s growing population.
“We are doing everything possible to bring up some kind of stimulant that will cause price reduction naturally.”
The Minister emphasised the strategic importance of research in the development of the agricultural sector, adding that it would improve quality seedling, enhance food and nutrition security and drive the diversification policy of the Federal Government in the agricultural sector.
He further highlighted the significance of research in the agricultural systems especially in fast-tracking food security, innovations and the export of various agricultural produce.
Abubakar said the President Muhammadu Buhari administration, ‘’is particularly interested in the agricultural sector and thus the Ministry is very much ready to assist and collaborate with the ARCN towards improving research outcomes.
“It is the responsibility of the agricultural researchers to make Nigeria great in export and in bringing innovative cropping system.”
In his welcome address, the Executive Secretary, Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria, Prof. Garba Sharubutu, highlighted the giant strides recorded by the various Research Institutes in recent times to include the development of technologies to tackle some emerging diseases and pests.
Sharubutu added that ‘’We have changed the direction of our research from basic research to demand-driven agricultural research and technologies.
“Most of our Research Institutes now are answering the yearnings of Nigerian farmers in this regard.”
The Minister also visited the National Agricultural Quarantine Services (NAQS), where he charged the Agency on delivery on its mandate and ensure a good working relationship between the Nigeria Customs Services and other relevant Government Agencies towards providing goods and services to Nigerians.
At the Nigeria Agricultural Insurance Corporation (NAIC), Abubakar said the Federal Government would recapitalise the Nigerian Agricultural Insurance Corporation (NAIC) to enhance its service delivery to Nigerian farmers.
According to him, “Recapitalisation is very important and that is exactly what we are doing with the Bank of Agriculture (BOA) and I have already spoken with the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), we will probably put the two together and work on them. I will see how we can do that.”
The Managing Director of NAIC, Mrs Folashade Joseph, had earlier informed the minister on the need to have more Nigerian farmers protect their investments by taking advantage of the favourable insurance policy created by the government.
She stated that “insurance is the key and bedrock of any investment” especially in mitigating post-harvest losses and natural disasters like flooding.”