Nigeria’s new Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mohammad Abubakar, on Wednesday assumed duty officially at the ministry over a week after his predecessor Sabo Nanono was sacked by President Muhammadu Buhari.
At the ministry, where Mr Abubakar addressed officials, he assured that the provision of necessary policy direction to position agriculture as the mainstay of the nation’s economy will be prioritised.
“We provide the necessary policy direction and drive that will truly position agriculture as the mainstay of our economy as captured in the medium term national development plan, and the president’s vision of lifting 100 million people out of poverty in 10 years,” the new minister said.
President Buhari on September 1 had announced the sack of Mr Nanono and his counterpart in the power ministry, Saleh Mamman.
The presidency said the sack followed an ‘independent and critical self-review,’ that helped to identify ‘weak areas’ under this government.
Mr Abubakar said the livestock transformation plan would be prioritised, not just for food security, but also to curb insecurity challenges in the country.
During the handover ceremony, the new minister stated that under his watch; “research and extension services will be strengthened to ensure that best practices are translated into concrete deliverables in the agric and livestock value chain.
“We will strive to promote synergy within the agencies and departments of the ministry. Our agencies must collaborate and work with relevant stakeholders in achieving our mandate,” he added.
While laying emphasis on the need to boost food availability in the country, Mr Abubakar advocated patronage of local agro products so as to encourage domestic farmers in the country.
“The job of keeping our environment safe and sound is the job of everybody. This can be applicable to agriculture. We must support our farmers so they can continue to produce. During the closure of border we had sufficient rice and this shows the possibility of our food sufficiency,” he said.
The minister said food security is everything and that we have everything it takes to make Nigeria the number one producer and exporter of food not just in Africa but beyond.
In his remarks, Sabo Nanono, the former minister, urged the new minister to focus on improving fertilizer, stop the importation of rice, fish, wheat and several other food crops across the country, and scale up employment in the sector.
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