Muhammed Jamil Zakari, Commissioner of Agriculture, Nassarawa State.
Hon. comm. Zakari addressing the attendants at the event.
At the event.
Al-makura has called on Private Sector invest in the state agricultural & agro-processing industry to harvest the bountiful yields beckoning to them.
Nasarawa State Governor, UmaruTanko Al-makura, made the call in his remark speech at the 2017 and 10th anniversary of the National Agricultural Show and Nassarawa Day at Keffi- Nassarawa state, on Thursday 19th 2017 with the theme: Agriculture for Sustainable Economic Diversification and Growth is apt and poignant.
The present trends in the call for the youth’s involvement in the country’s food production chain. As a result, need for decision-makers in government and private institutions to focus on this crucial matter by highlighting opportunities in the sector, such as farming possibilities for agricultural professionals, service providers and so forth.
With these measures many challenges facing the agricultural sector, from policy uncertainty to profitability issues, would be addresses . Regrettably, young agricultural practitioners are frequently underrepresented in some of discussions that matters to their career future.
One often sees a round-table discussion of seasoned professionals discussing strategies to change the image of the sector and attract young talent without younger representation without representation from the generation.
For these, in his remarks, Nassarawa State Executive Governor, Umaru Tanko Al-Makur duly represented by the Honourable Commissioner for Agriculture Nasarawa State, Muhammad Jamil Zakari, urged the private sector to seize the opportunity the agriculture and agro-processing provides as it beckons on them.
“I am calling on the private sector to come into agricultural sector and invest to reap the bounties in Agricultural sector. One of the objective of this show is to showcase and revive Nigeria agricultural sector. The aim is to create agricultural value chain, and to show the world what Nigeria can do or doing in Agriculture.
He added. “You can see various species of commodity displayed here today. That will show you that we have all that are needed to feed ourselves, industry and to export.
This show objective is also to see how we can assist and encourage the peasant farmers both small and large farmers on their challenges and efforts ,” He said.
Hon. Comm. Zakari went on to emphasize that Agriculture being recognized as the mainstay of the economy and has a greater impact on poverty reduction than other sectors is critical for rural development, associated cultural values, social stabilization, environmental sustainability and buffer during economic shocks like economic recession.
According to him, the sector currently employs more than Ten thousand youths on its total workforce. He believed that Nigeria can only realize its export potential and diversify its revenue through agriculture when its products can compete favourably with other products in the international market.
“Nassarawa State through its rural infrastructural development program. “Since the inception of economic recession, we have been able to build new roads and install infrastructural amenities through rural areas in the state to lure youth into farming, as it being important to the development of any State, Nassarawa state being no exception. All the state’s agricultural developmental plan in the state includes the youth and always seeks to encourage their participation in the agricultural sector.
. Recently, through bi- lateral agreement, Nassarawa state has signed agreement with Dangote Group to site both manufacturing and processing of sugar in the state. Soonest, it commence, more than 30 thousand youth are going to be engaged,” He assured.
Zakari lamented the setbacks witnessed by the sector since the discovery of oil, stressing that the current administration has done so much to revive the sector. He said the sector has significantly contributed to the economy especially from second quarter of the 2016 to the current quarter and that the sector is capable of reducing poverty to the minimum level.
Meanwile, Kano’s pavilion as at previous years stands out among other states which have raised theirs so far, and promises much, according to the Deputy HOD Agric. Kiru, Abdullahi adamu Panda who told National Enquirer at the stand that the state was showcasing varieties of newly developed crops including tomatoes, cowpea, onions, wheat, sorghum, rice and cassava.
Abdullahi said, the Governor of the Sate, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje has given everything to the development of agriculture, to add to the commerce sub-sector of the economy in the state.
Priorly, during the opening ceremony, Senator Abdullahi Adamu (PDP, Nasarawa-West), who is also the chairman of the Board of Trustees of the National Agricultural Foundation of Nigeria (NAFN), organizers of the show, said the theme of the event was chosen to move agriculture to the next level – business investment.
“We appreciate though that agri-business is a capital intensive venture. We must change the status quo of peasant agriculture that does not encourage us to take the value chain approach whereby we add value to every agricultural produce. But in doing so, we must systematically involve our peasant and smallholder farmers to be part of the driving force for the change,” Senator Adamu said.
He stressed that the show was part of efforts aimed at restoring agriculture and agro enterprise to their pride of place as key drivers of growth, prosperity and sustainable national development.
The effort seeks to change the negative perception the youth have of participation in agriculture, (farmers) as uneducated, unskilled, physical labourers with extremely low economic return. Modern agriculture is more than tilling the soil and animals. The sector today offers career opportunities in research, environment, financial management, engineering and other technical areas for the youth to explore.