Nigeria’s 56% of farmland goes unused – minister

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The federal government said Thursday that many opportunities abound in the agricultural sector, as more than 56% of available agricultural land remains unused.

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Mohammad Abubakar, said so on Thursday in Jos while addressing the participants of the ongoing 45th Ordinary Meeting of the National Council for Agriculture and Rural Development.

According to the Minister, “Nigeria is endowed with a total of 79 million hectares of agricultural land of which only 44% is cultivated. The country also has 267 billion cubic meters of fresh surface water and 58 billion cubic meters of groundwater, of which 37 billion cubic meters are only stored in dams. The annual rainfall in the country is between 300 mm and 4000 mm. Conversely, the potential irrigable area is about 3.14 million hectares, of which less than 7% is currently used.

The minister however said that the government is doing all it can to encourage agriculture, having trained 153,124 women and youth on agriculture, fisheries and livestock value chains and empowered 142,703 people. He said the government had also trained 214,787 farmers in Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) and 220,018 farmers in Farmer Business School.

To improve performance, the minister said the federal government is strengthening the link between research, agriculture and industry by stepping up the process of developing the commodity value chain.

“This is guided by the new National Agricultural Technology and Innovation Policy Framework, 2022-2027, launched in August 2022, which aims to modernize the agricultural sector in line with changing food systems and supply chains. global supplies.

“In fact, NATIP is the ministry’s response to the administration’s current program to diversify the country’s economy from petroleum oil to agriculture and solid minerals. The document serves as a successor policy to the Agricultural Promotion Policy, 2016-2020, to develop priority value chains based on comparative ecological advantage in the crop, livestock and fishing in conjunction with the state government.

“Under our mandate to ensure food security, job creation and wealth creation in the country, the ministry is committed to supporting the establishment of more than 100 processing centers in rural communities across the country under a private company’s Green Imperative mechanization program.

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