By Nneka Nwogwugwu
The federal government has projected agricultural practices that will help in Sesame and Soybean production in Nigeria.
These practices were released to stakeholders by the Regional Director, North Central, of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr. S. B. Baye, at a workshop held on Monday, March 1, in Minna, Niger state.
The theme of the Workshop was centered on ‘’Good Agricultural Practices / Aflatoxins Mitigation in Sesame; and the Use / Application of Inoculant (Nodumax) in Soybean Production.’’
In his keynote address, Baye stated that workshop was aimed at reviewing the current status of the subsector, identify the challenges and opportunities, proffer solutions to these challenges, as well as chart a roadmap for its development, in the areas of discuss.
He said, ‘’There is no gain saying that Nigeria is blessed with diverse agricultural endowment to drive the country’s economy but this has been relegated to the background due to years of neglect of the sector. Many thanks therefore, go to this administration that has made agriculture the center of its economic diversification agenda.
‘’A nation that does not feed itself becomes a threat to its own sovereign existence. Growing our own food, processing what we produce, becoming competitive in export markets, and creating jobs all across our economy, are crucial for our national security.’’
The Regional director further stated that Nigeria is blessed with immense agricultural potentials that will enable these good agric practices to enhance production capacity.
‘’We have 84 million hectares of arable land but only cultivate 40%. We have 263 billion cubic meters of water – with two of the largest rivers in Africa. We have a cheap labor force to support agricultural intensification.
‘’Our population of close to 200 million makes us a huge market. But we must not be the market for others. We must grow and process our own food. We must feed ourselves. We must create markets locally for our own farmers. Charity they say begins at home.
‘’Consequently, the Ministry has put in place various measures to increase production, processing and value addition.
‘’These include; supports for research through the National Agricultural Research System in the country; making available various classes of seeds; sensitization and capacity building for stakeholders; and other supports including establishment of cottage processing centers at different locations across the country among others,’’ he noted.
Earlier in his remarks, Niger State Director, Federal Ministry of Agriculture And Rural Development, Mr Ahmedu Zegi, also noted that Agric ministry is focusing on achieving food and nutrition security through its various activities by using a combination of policies and appropriate agricultural technologies that will lead to job and wealth creation as well as improved living standards.
He added that one of the ways in which the Ministry is working to achieve this objective is through the promotion of various crops in which Nigeria has a comparative advantage in production.