Tom Okpe, Abuja
The Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQs) has said that the country needs N50b annually to tackle plant health infrastructure deficit.
The Director General, Dr. Vincent Isegbe also said this is necessary, if Nigeria is determined to meet the food demand of its growing population which is projected to reach 236million by 2030, the imperative is to begin building a robust plant health system that can support the anticipated population’ explosion.
He emphasized that meeting this target will mean a firm commitment by the federal government in committing an annual investment of N50billion for the next five years to scale plant health infrastructure in the country
He said: “We need more than the traditional miserly allocations to plant health and reposition our plant healthcare system.
“At the federal level, we need, at minimum, an annual investment of N50 billion annually for the next 5 years to scale up our plant health infrastructure to the proportion of our immediate needs.
“Our investment in plant health will be an investment in social security. It will enable us to combat hunger, malnutrition and poverty. But with plants, there will be food for all; everyone will be adequately nourished; the income and quality of life of farming households will rise”.
The DG further explained that plant infrastructure encompass agricultural machinery needed on the field,diagnostic equipment in the labs, agro chemical input needed to ensure plant health so as to avoid invasion by pest and diseases, improved seeds and fertilizer.