Mr Sabo Nanono, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, says there is the need for Nigerians to accord agriculture its prime position a good replacement for the dwindling crude oil.
Nanono gave the advice on Owerri at a one-day workshop organised for maize growers and processors by the Maize Growers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria (MAGPMAN).
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the programme, with theme: “Post-Harvest Management of Maize Stakeholders Conference- under the CBN Maize Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP)” , had many farmers, especially maize growers in attendance.
The minister, who was represented by Mr Chris Iwuchukwu, the State Director in the ministry, said that crude oil was failing the country and a reason why agriculture should be given more priority in the nation’s affairs.
Mr Ikongbe Iya, a Deputy Manager, Development Finance Office of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Owerri, who represented the Maize Champion Development Finance Department, CBN, said Nigerian population was increasing day by day with a lot of concern on natural resources and the environment.
He said there was need for sustainable agriculture, hence the workshop, to build maize growers capacity to reduce losses on agricultural products and not necessarily maize.
“There is need to develop low cost technology to grow the agricultural products. The machines for today’s demonstration was locally produced,” he said.
Iya said that the Anchor Borrowers Scheme was necessitated by the need to curtail importation of goods from outside the country, adding that it was also to supply agricultural raw materials to farmers and companies.
Some of the participants commended the association for putting up the programme, which they said, had added a lot to their knowledge of maize cultivation and preservation.
They promised to extend what they learnt to their colleagues.
A participant, Mr George Okeke, the Chief Agroforestry Officer, Imo State Agric Development Programme, Owerri, an extension of the state ministry of agriculture, described the programme as laudable.
He harped on the need to make farming easier for farmers by ensuring that fertilisers, other farming inputs and funds were made available to farmers on time.
Mrs Mary Okoro from Okwuabala in Orlu, Imo, said she had applied for her own Anchors Borrowers’ fund to start farming and was happy for the programme.
NAN reports that the highlight of the programme was the demonstration of a way of removing corn from the cob using locally produced machine.
With covid-19 likely to continue for quite some time in the future, global food reserves may face shortages and we need to be prepared early.