President Umaru Yarâ€˜Adua said on Monday that the agricultural sector held the key to rapid economic transformation, poverty alleviation and good governance in Nigeria. Yarâ€™Adua said this at the opening ceremony of the 2009 National Agricultural Show held at Tudun Wada, Nasarawa State, on the Abuja Keffi Express Way. Represented by Mrs. Fidelia Njamaeze, the Minister of State for Agriculture and Water Resources, the president said: â€œIt is my belief that there is no national security without food security.â€
He reiterated the determination of the government to ensure that food was â€œavailable, affordable and accessibleâ€, in addition to reducing poverty and hunger. To achieve the objective, he said the government would implement land reforms as well as water management, integrated rural and agricultural development. â€œAlso, research development and special rural agricultural development scheme for the Niger Delta would be given priority,â€ the president said.
According to him, the government has packaged incentives to encourage local and foreign investors in the sector. My government has also provided an array of other incentives and liberal tariff regime in order to sustain and stimulate private sector investment,â€
he said. He said the administration was committed to providing agricultural incentives with a view to attaining a 6 per cent national agricultural growth per annum. He added that the sector remains the component of the Nigerian economy and a focal point of national
development. Earlier in an address, the Minister of Agriculture and Water Resources, Dr Sayyadi Ruma, said the show was designed to attract both local and foreign investors to the agriculture sector to promote value addition and enhance national food security. Ruma, who was represented by the permanent secretary in the ministry, Mr. Otaki Oyegun, noted that the sector remained the largest employer of labour and a source of raw materials for the industrial sector. According to him, the sector employs about 70 per cent of the Nigerian population and provides most of the staple food consumed by Nigerians. He said government was making efforts to ensure the attainment of food security and the MDGs.
Also speaking, Gov Aliyu Doma of Nasarawa State, said the government would exhibit good leadership aimed at sustainable agricultural production. He noted the negative impact of climate change on agricultural production and said that governorsâ€™ forum was committed to supporting agricultural development and