Food security: agricultural research will be a priority, according to the minister

Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Dr. Mohammed Abubakar said agricultural research will be his priority for improved seeds to boost food production and improve the economy.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Mohammad Abubakar

Abubakar said so on Monday, November 15, 2021, during a working visit to the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN), Abuja.

The minister noted that research was very important for development, saying that to have agriculture that makes sense, there must be research and innovation.

“Research is everything without a doubt, it is the engine of the agricultural sector and of course for any vehicle to move it must have a good engine.

“Research is one of the key areas for me and President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration,” he said.

Abubakar assured the ARCN of its support and cooperation, saying Nigeria needed a strong foundation to ensure food security.

“Agriculture can make a difference, it is your responsibility to research, develop, innovate to make Nigeria self-sufficient to be able to export all we want through innovative research, and ARCN and Agriculture will make that difference,” he said.

Regarding food prices, the minister said that the federal government is doing everything possible to bring down food prices by working with international organizations to stimulate agriculture.

Earlier, Prof. Garba Sharubutu, Executive Secretary of the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN), assured the Minister of ARCN’s support to the Minister and of President Buhari’s diversification agenda, which aims to ensure nutrition and food security, reducing the poverty rate and improving agribusiness in the agricultural sector.

Sharubutu said the provision for institutes to set up spin-off companies was a deliberate strategy to ensure that research is more demand-driven and marketable.

“Institutes can now ensure that their innovations are scaled up and commercialized to generate more funding to run their businesses.

“It is expected that this provision will enable institutions to partner with the private sector to multiply and make technologies available to the target population,” he said.

The minister, who also visited the Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Services (NAQS), assured that the ministry would support the agency to ensure efficient service delivery.

Taking the floor, the Comptroller General of the Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Services (NAQS), Dr. Vincent Isegbe, who congratulated the minister on his appointment, prayed that his time in the ministry would be impactful and fulfilling.

Isegbe pledged the full support and commitment of NAQS to the administration of the Minister of Agriculture in carrying out his mandate.

“We further pledge our full support and commitment to the administration of the Minister of Agriculture in carrying out our mandate and we request the Minister to please support and guide the NAQS in carrying out its mandates” , did he declare.

At the Nigeria Agricultural Insurance Corporation (NAIC), Abubakar said he would engage the National Assembly and the Central Bank of Nigeria to help the NAIC achieve its mandate.

Speaking, Mrs. Folashade Joseph, Managing Director of the Nigeria Agricultural Insurance Corporation (NAIC), said that insurance was the foundation of any business.

She told the Minister that the NAIC had organized trainings for youth and women as well as stakeholders.

By Doris Esa

Lana T. Arthur