Agric minister says Nigeria has achieved 80% performance in sector

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sabo Nanono, says Nigeria has achieved 80 per cent performance in the agricultural sector.

Nanono made this known at the Public Presentation of Executive Summary of Wet Season Agricultural Performance in Nigeria, by the National Agricultural Extension and Research Liaison Services (NAERLS) in Abuja on Thursday.

Nanono, who expressed satisfaction with the achievement in the sector, said, “We are not doing badly. I hope next year we will reach the real mark.”

He said the level of performance was ascertained from findings carried out by NAERLS, stressing that the importance data in moving the sector forward could not be overemphasised.

According to the minister, the issue of data is very crucial because it will give actual data and there is no more guess-work.

“As we are going into a phase in the sector, I think we should be in a position to know what to focus on in each state and how many persons to get involved with in our activities with the help of data.

“This will now allow us to plan well. So, I think it is a welcome development,” he said.

The minister said while the achievement so far was being celebrated, more needed to he done to take the sector to an enviable position.

He said, “Nigeria is largely an agricultural country with vast opportunities to produce for export but we are no where close to our potential.

“I do not think we have reached up to 10 per cent of our potentials in agriculture.

“The research institutions are very crucial to the development of agriculture in Nigeria. So it is imperative that we do not just make the research institutions better but positioned to contribute to the development of the country.

“We are to develop all our research institutions. I cannot believe that up till now we have not reached our potential in seed production. We have not achieved 10 per cent.”

On extension services, Nanono said, “we have about 70million farmers but only about 14,000 extension workers while the standard is one to 25.

“So, what you are doing in ABU is very crucial and I want you to intensify your work in strengthening agriculture.”

The Executive Director NAERLS, Prof. Mohammed Othman said from the survey carried out across the country, most states recorded increase in rainfall in the North East and North West in 2019 with Bauchi having the highest, followed by Gombe in the North East and Kaduna in the North West.

He added that most states recorded increase in rainfall in the North Central and South East

While giving details on crop production and land area in 2019, the don said Niger State recorded the highest increase in rice and sorghum in terms of cultivated land area and production.

For maize, Othman said Kaduna had the highest increase, Yobe recorded the highest in terms of millet.

For cassava, he said there was increase in most of the states, while Kano has the highest production in terms of cotton.

He, however, noted that there was no significant increase in cowpea across the states.

The executive director further said that the average cost of production per hectare of maize in 2019 stood at between N150,000 and N300,000 across the zones and same for rice in most states.

For yam, Othman said the average production cost of yam was N300,000 to N500,000 per hectare across the zones, among other food commodities.

“Price increase in the cost of yam ranged from 10per cent to 20 per cent between July 2018 and July 2019 across the country.

“Market price of soybean was nearly the same from 2018 to 2019 except in a few states, which received 11 per cent and 20 per cent.

“The percentage change in market price of groundnut between July 2018 and July 2019 was 1 to 10 per cent for most states.”

On livestock, Othman said cattle production increased slightly across the states from 2018 to 2019 with Zamfara recording the highest population of about 3.5 million.

For aquaculture the director general said production output for Bauchi, Oyo and Akwa-Ibom states were at the same levels in 2018 and 2019, noting, however, that Abia, Nasarawa and Katsina had marginal increases.

He listed some constraints to agricultural production in 2019 to include flood, high cost of labour, low farm mechanisation, lack of access to agricultural information, weak and uncoordinated extension services as well as insecurity.

He urged the government to strengthen agricultural extension system, increased investment in Climate-Smart Agriculture, effective subsidisation strategy and decisive action plan to tackle the tide of insecurity.

While emphasising on the need for harmonised data in the agricultural sector to properly monitor growth, Othman said the 2019 survey by NAERLS was conducted in collaboration with the 36 states, agencies of government and other stakeholders.(NAN)

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