The minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Sen. Heineken Lokpobiri, has explained that foreign investors, who are interested in doing business in Nigeria, have continued to have cold feet because of lack of data.
The minister gave the explanation during the 2017 Agricultural Performance Survey Public Presentation and Stakeholders Forum in Abuja yesterday.
Sen. Lokpobiri lamented that lack of database for agricultural sector has not only made the sector unattractive to both the foreign and local investors but also has continued to retard the growth of agribusiness in the country.
He noted the urgent need for adequate data for the sector, advising that Nigerians should begin to signify ample interest in farming business in as much as in the next few decades; agriculture will supplant oil to become the mainstay of the country’s economy.
“It is unfortunate that we don’t have data in Nigeria and even when we have, the data will not be publicised. This is a landmark exercise and for that, it is going to be an annual survey event.
“We have over 84 million hectares of land ready for farming but foreign investors who are interested in Nigerian agribusiness are discouraged because of lack of data.
“We want a situation where all the states of the nation are interested in agriculture to create jobs and wealth.
“Part of the problem of data collection and research is funding. It is not enough to do a research; you have to commercialize your research results because the era of government doing everything is gone.
“The young people are encouraged to go into farming. For that, farming has to be made sexy and attractive.”
The minister commended Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria for conducting the 2017 wet season agricultural performance survey, adding that from this year, there will be both dry and wet season survey.
Speaking earlier, the vice-chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University, Prof. Ibrahim Garba assured that the institute would continue its utmost best to provide research and extension services in all the aspect of agriculture, adding that they shall also continue to serve the teeming population of farmers and other stakeholders with information, skills, technologies and other services to make the country achieve self-sufficiency in food production and improve the economic wellbeing of the citizens through agriculture.
He said, “This institute has continued to collate, evaluate and disseminate agricultural technology and provide capacity building for stakeholders. This is in addition to core mandate and responsibility of research in agricultural extension methodologies and development of extension workers nationwide.
“Today, we are to witness the presentation of 2017 APS by the Minister of State for Agriculture, Sen. Heineken Lokpobiri. This survey coming in 2017 is probably the 30th because it has been going on for the last 30 years but only this year, we have chosen to present it in public. But in the last 29 years of research, it has always been conducted and it has always been there in the Ahmadu Bello University.
“Minister sir, we appreciate your ministry’s interest and continued support to agricultural research institute in Ahmadu Bello University, and I assure you and the nation at large that we shall continue our utmost best to provide a research and extension services in all the aspect of agriculture that we have a national mandate on.
“We shall also continue to serve our teeming population of farmers and other stakeholders with information, skills, technologies and other services to make our country achieve self-sufficiency in food production and attainment of the economic wellbeing of our citizens through agriculture.”