The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Muhammad Nanono, has called for partnership and collaboration with relevant stakeholders in the sector to drive the mechanisation agenda of the ministry.
Nanono said the mechanisation agenda as well as other laudable programmes of the ministry are in line with the administration’s focus and commitment in diversifying the economy through agriculture.
The minister made this known in a statement by Mrs Eno Olotu, Deputy Director, Information, of the ministry in Abuja on Thursday.
The statement indicated that the minister disclosed this when he received members of the Nigeria Young Farmers Network, led by its Convener/Director-General, Mr Promise Amahah, in his office on Thursday.
Nanono said the potentials in the sector are enormous and needed to be optimally explored for its huge benefits, including creating jobs and economic growth.
He urged the youth to embrace the mechanisation and the livestock programme of the ministry as it targeted huge employment platforms for value chain development across board.
For livestock alone, the minister explained that the value chain includes cattles, horses, goats, feeds and diaries, among others.
In the mechanisation value chain, Nanono said about 632 Local Government Areas across the nation would benefit from the mechanisation process.
The minister said it would be providing service centres, tractors, mechanics and administrators and would be driven by the private sector.
He said the mechanisation programme would soon be rolled out, as soon approval comes from the National Assembly.
The minister also received the Vice-Chancellor of the Kano State University of Science and Technology (KUST), Wudil, Kano, Prof. Shehu Musa, saying that the ministry is interested in the university’s agricultural programmes and technical assistance, especially with its faculty of Agriculture.
“We are trying to refocus the ministry and broaden the perspective in the way and manner we look at agriculture, we are dealing with development of the resource base of the country of which agriculture is one of them with over 60 million hectares of arable land to cultivate,” he said.
Nanono reiterated the importance of synergy between agriculture and industrialisation such as mechanisation, strengthening of the research institutes for improved seedlings and reinvigorating of the extension services.
He emphasised that the country is rich and the people must be rich at heart to tap the unlimited potentials in the agricultural sector.
Earlier, Prof. Musa had commended the minister for the innovations introduced under his leadership and said the visit was to seek support of the ministry in areas of livestock, poultry and mechanisation.
The VC said the university is also ready to grab the opportunities of partnership offered by the minister with three key departments of the ministry – fisheries, livestock and extension services.
He said the partnership would benefit Nigerians, particularly the youths.
In a similar remark earlier, the Convener of Nigeria Young Farmers Network, Mr Promise Amahah, said the group is excited about the potentials in the agricultural sector and determined to strengthen the ranks of young people in Agric business to create a holistic ecosystem.
Amahah said the group was focused on addressing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Goals 1, 2, 5 and 8 which were focused in mitigating and eradicating hunger, poverty and also achieving inclusive growth.
He said the group, to this effect, would unveil a programme, tagged “Raise a Million Young Farmers Initiative”, which targets youths across the country.
Amahah also explained that the partnership was a moral boost for youths engagement in agriculture as it would help to further unlock the potentials in the sector.
He said that it would also connect young people in agriculture and raise young Nigerian farmers.