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Govt advocates youths’ participation in agric

By on March 23, 2011

AMONG measures to guarantee sustainable food security in the country, the Federal Government has called for involvement of youths in food production.

The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mrs. Fatima Bamidele made the call on Monday in Abuja at the opening ceremony of the 38th regular meeting of the National Council on Agriculture and Rural Development.

Bamidele, who stressed the need to sensitise youths to engage more in farming, said it was due to the aging of many Nigeria farmers, adding that it was important to explore practicable ways of making the youth take interest in agriculture as a way of life.

According to her, “there is need to unleash the potentials of young rural people by concertedly deploying the great opportunities in agriculture and agro allied sectors to their advantage and making out of them productive and prosperous farmers”.

The meeting of National Council on Agriculture, which is the highest decision making in the sector, would also among others consider the need to take effective action on agricultural planning, data collection and analysis, monitoring and evaluation, periodic reporting and dissemination of agricultural information to all relevant stakeholders.

The permanent secretary stressed the need for correct, up-to-date information on local and global agricultural practices, and other factors that have bearing on improved agricultural production, processing, marketing and other elements in the value chain.

Other issues which she said would come in the front burner of the meeting include increase private sector partnership in all sub sectors of agriculture, participatory approaches to community-based projects, provision of guaranteed minimum price, animal diseases and trans-boundary pest control among others.

She said the meeting, which would span for three days would provide opportunity to review the sector with a view to reposition it for improved job creation, enhanced national food security, meeting the Millennium Development Goals and accomplishing the targets set in the Vision 20:2020 document.

The Head of Service, Professor Oladapo Afolabi in his remark called for more involvement of Public Private Patnership in the sector to boost food production in the country, thereby ensuring food security.

In another development, the Permanent Secretary in the ministry has said Nigeria is currently among the lowest consumer of fertiliser in the world with an average rate of about 13kg per hectare, which is about 10 per cent of the world average.

Bamidele reiterated Nigeria’s resolve to achieve at least 50kg/ha level by 2015 for agricultural sector to sustain the projected growth in the economy as enshrined in the Africa Fertiliser Summit Resolution of 2006.

She stated this in Abuja at a stakeholders’ validation workshop on fertiliser regulatory and quality control system organised by the ministry in collaboration with Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).

She said the Federal Government was poised to strengthening fertiliser regulatory and quality control system to ensure best practices in fertiliser production, procurement and distribution.

To achieve this target, she added that it was necessary to embark on effective supervision and monitoring right from the ports and production plants to the primary distribution points in the states and open markets.

Source : Guardian