By Gabriel Ewepu

THE Federal Government, Thursday, expressed hope over implementation of the National Agricultural Technology and Innovation Policy, NATIP, 2022- 2025 to galvanise agric sector.

The Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Mustapha Shehuri, stated this at the National Validation Exercise of the Draft National Agricultural Technology and Innovation Policy (NATIP), 2022-2025, in Abuja.

According to Shehuri, the Ministry has carried out special interventions developing the sector from 2015 to 2020, whereby over 30 commodity value chains were developed.

Also during the period under review, rural roads were constructed, solar and motorized boreholes were installed including many mini water treatment plants in provide in rural communities across the country.

He also made it known that other interventions include mini earth dams, water harvesting structures, tube wells, silo complexes, processing complexes and farmers markets as part of collective effort to upscale infrastructure.

The Minister added that the Ministry has facilitated agro-input centers, agro-processing centers, agribusiness incubation centers and agro-industrial estates.
He maintained that these interventions have translated to an appreciable contribution of the sector to nation’s gross domestic product, which brought about positive growth throughout the COVID- 19 period and beyond.

He said: “This validation exercise is a platform for sharing experiences and making input into the Draft National Agricultural Technology and Innovation Policy, NATIP.

“The forum will enable stakeholders to understand the policy direction seamlessly towards economic diversification, food security and wealth creation in the country as the objectives of the Ministry.

“This draft National Agricultural Technology and Innovation Policy will create access to finance and ensure security of agricultural land as well as other investments that are Agro-based.

“The thematic issue in this policy framework includes stakeholders’ synergy, knowledge creation and transfer, private sector driven mechanisation, commodity value-chain development.

“Also, land and climate management, agricultural financing and appropriate strategies have been highlighted for smooth implementation.

“The strategies have been re-defined to also focus on the establishment of cottage industries and agro-processing zones for priority commodities, establishment of functional models of ranches, grazing reserves, integrated meat and dairy processing facilities.

“It also gives adequate attention to the fisheries value chain particularly the artisanal fisheries with the aim of reducing the import to meet domestic consumption.

“The approach adopted by the Ministry to achieve sector policy of ensuring national agricultural development is through commodity value chain across the crops, livestock and fishery sub-sectors.

“As well as through investments in rural infrastructure, research technologies, credit access, climate adaptation, mechanization, storage facilities, extension services, agro input and processing plants.

“These are fundamental and basic issues on Agriculture that have been appropriately dealt with in the new Policy.”

Earlier, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr Ernest Umakhihe, who was represented by the Director, Planning and Policy Coordination, Abdullahi Zubairu, called on state and non-state actors to own the policy as all implementations will be at the state and local government levels with collective implementation as they examine the policy measures of the draft NATIP policy framework.

Meanwhile, in a goodwill message, the Chairman, House Committee on Agricultural Colleges and Research Institutions, Hon Munir Danagundi, called for effective policies driven by well articulated and achievable timelines that would enable implementation within the period.

Also, Chairman, House Committee on Agricultural Production and Services, Hon Muktari Dandutse, pointed that for the sector to record massively, it is imperative to embrace the NATIP policy framework as collective task to boost the sector.

However, assured that the National Assembly would ensure laws are made to fast-track policies such as the NATIP to develop the sector as expected.

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