Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Mohammed Sabo Nanono, on Tuesday identified agricultural research as crucial to ongoing efforts to grow the country’s agriculture sector and by implication, achieve food security for all.
He made the remarks when a delegation from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, led by the Deputy Director, Agricultural Development, Tom Kehoe, paid a courtesy visit to his office in Abuja.
According to the delegation, the purpose of the visit is to explore areas of mutual collaboration between the Foundation and Nigeria in terms of economic opportunities for smallholder farmers and assisting the Federal Government’s efforts towards creating a business climate that would attracts private sector investment and produce innovations that will enable the farmers adapt to climate change.
The minister pointed out that the outcome of the researches would improve the issues of seedling that will be suitable to the nation’s ecological systems and boost food production nationwide, increase non-oil revenue accruals, alleviate poverty and encourage standardization of agricultural products nationwide and also develop human capital competencies in agriculture.
Briefing the minister on the purpose of the visit, Kehoe explained that the Foundation’s investments in the agriculture sector “are backing efforts to develop disease – resistant varieties that are more nutritious and can be easily processed to meet demands for cassava’s many commercial uses ,which range from making bread and beer to bio gradable packing.
“We are increasingly viewing our agriculture investment through the lens of climate change and its impact on smallholder farmers. A key goal is to support innovations that can help farmers adapt, he added.
The Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Dr. Mohammed Umar, while thanking the delegation on the visit expressed Nigerian government’s appreciation to the Foundation for supporting the various agricultural programmes of the government.
He pointed out that also said that the Foundation’s activities aligned with the vision and mission of the government on the nation’s agricultural sector.