By Naomi Uzor
The Federal Government, weekend, said creating a strong linkage between agriculture and industry was a sure way of boosting sustainable growth in the country.
Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelama, disclosed this at the opening ceremony of 40th Kaduna International Trade Fair, tagged “Consolidating interface between industry and agriculture for sustainable economic development,” organised by Kaduna Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, KADCCIMA.
He said creating a strong linkage between agriculture and industry would create new jobs, create wealth for farming communities, improve manufacturing output and enable the roll-out of infrastructure around farming communities and industrialising the country.
He said the Federal Government had begun implementing several programmes aimed at achieving these goals, saying one of these programmes was the Made-in-Nigeria for Exports programme seeking to fast-track the development of model export oriented Special Economic Zones across the country to promote export-oriented agro-processing; the revision and rollout of several sector policies to promote investment in processing of agricultural commodities such as oil palm, cassava, tomatoes, sugar, dairy, amongst others.
He said: “Also, the ERGP Secretariat is pursuing the implementation of 70 new investment projects identified during the recently concluded Manufacturing and Processing Focus Labs. These opportunities, which were identified in food processing, textiles and garments, general manufacturing, etc present a great opportunity to improve the value added to our agricultural output and their scale is a testament to the potentials which exist in our economy.”
Enelama said governments remained a key ally to all businesses and the commitment of State Governments was required for business to stay the course throughout the business lifecycles.
Speaking, Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State, represented by the newly elected deputy governor, Hajiyah Hadizat Balarabe, said the state had made considerable efforts towards building a conducive climate for business and its doing its best towards build the human capital to support its drive for development by establishing business support centres for entrepreneurs, revamping Business Training Centre, BATCs, all aiming to provide skills training for youths.