Following the expiration of the Agricultural Promotion Policy (APP) that lasted from 2016-2020, the Federal Government is in the process of developing another policy termed National Agricultural Technology and Innovation Policy (NATIP) to cover the 2021-2025 period.
NATIP is developed to provide an integrated approach to agricultural development in terms of access and application of improved inputs, improve the linkage between agricultural research and training institutions
The policy, according to the government, would also enhance the provision of input to farmers, improve agricultural mechanisation, extension services, provide rural Infrastructure and increase access to affordable funding.
It would also ensure climate change management and sustainable agriculture, nutrition, and security of agricultural land and investments.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Mahmood Abubakar, who disclosed this while speaking to journalists in Abuja, said as a result of the various government’s policy initiatives and innovative funding in food and agriculture, the sector has increasingly witnessed growth.
“It is indeed as a result of our actions that in the past three years, Nigeria took the leading role globally in the production of cassava, yam, maize, palm oil and rice. Nigeria has become the largest producer of rice in Africa with a production level of over nine million metric tonnes from 2019,” he said.
Abubakar emphasised that the aim of the Federal Government was to be fully self-sufficient in rice and other crops that provide food to Nigerians.
He revealed that in the area of capacity building, a total of 2.2million farmers, especially youths and women, were trained and empowered on different agricultural value chains, added that the exercise was still ongoing as it is the ministerial mandate to train and deploy 75,000 agriculture extension workers.
The Country Representative of the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), Fred Kafeero, in his remarks, called for targeted interventions in research and development to make farming more technologically advanced, stressing the need for re-skilling young people and improving literacy rate among women farmers.
Kafeero said, “functioning food systems will not only assure us of enough and quality food for each of us but also environmental sustainability, which is key for the development of the present and future generations.”