The Nigerian government has called for the assistance of its development partners in intensifying researches in the country’s agricultural sector.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mohammed Nanono, made the call on Tuesday, according to a statement by the ministry.
Mr Nanono spoke while receiving a delegation from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in his office.
The delegation was led by the Deputy Director, Agricultural Development, Tom Kehoe.
Mr Nanono said agricultural researches are critical to growth in the sector and would ensure food security in Nigeria and called for cooperation with the Foundation.
He said Nigeria is interested in cooperation with the Foundation in exploring economic opportunities for smallholder farmers.
He said the organisation can also assist the government in its efforts towards creating a business climate that would attract private sector investment and produce innovations that would enable Nigerian farmers to adapt to climate change.
The minister said the outcome of the researches would improve seedling for the Nigerian environment and boost food production in the country.
Mr Nanono further said researches would improve the agricultural value chain and help in increasing Internally Generated Revenue and alleviate poverty, which goals he said are key components of the Next Level agenda of the President Muhammadu Buhari Administration.
The minister said researches would encourage standardisation of agricultural products in Nigeria and also develop capacity-building that would sustain the large population.
Earlier, Mr Kehoe spoke on the work of the Foundation in the Nigerian agricultural sector.
‘’Our investment is 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,’’ he said.
He said the Foundation was “increasingly viewing 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 said.