By Sarah NEGEDU
The FCT Administration is optimistic that the agricultural industry in the nation’s capital will be fully stimulated, owing to the new strategies adopted to overcome some of the challenges hindering the sector before now.
Specifically, the administration says it has begun keying into the various federal government agricultural initiatives targeted at the provision of effective and robust agricultural support services, particularly in the aspects of input and extension services.
FCT Minister of State, Dr. Ramatu Aliyu, who disclosed this at the opening ceremony of the Agribusiness Innovation Conference and Expo held in Abuja, added that the administration has also begun the process of updating database of farmers and all agriculture-related institutions in the territory.
She regretted that despite the important roles that farmers play in the quest to eliminate hunger, the agricultural sector was faced with so many challenges, including; lack of information on good agricultural practices, insufficient financial support, access to inputs, storage and processing facilities, pest infestation, access to markets as well as improved technology.
Some of the federal government initiatives adopted to address these challenges the minister says include the Accelerated Agricultural Development Scheme, AADS, the National Agricultural Land Development Authority, NALDA, the National Livestock Transformation Plan, NLTP, amongst others.
“On the implementation of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, funded AADS, all the six Area Councils of the FCT, as well as participating farmers and off-takers have been fully mobilised and are ready for the take-off of the programme at the start of the 2021 dry season farming”, she added.
Earlier, the Acting Secretary FCT Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat, Malam Ishaq Abubakar Sadeeq, described the theme ‘#EndHunger: “Building A National Resilience for Sustainable Food Security” as apt considering the fact that the country more than ever before was in dire need of the participation of key stakeholders in enhancing agribusiness for increased food security and employment.
He noted that the FCT was not just about infrastructural development, as the Administration has been giving due attention to the agricultural sector in order to meet the needs of the growing population of FCT with food and nutrition.
Sadeeq said the administration has been implementing programmes aimed at making agriculture attractive to the populace and investors particularly in the areas of agricultural value chains development.