The Senior Special Assistant to the President on sustainable development goal, Mrs. Adejoke Adefulire, has called for collaboration with the Faith Based Organization in Agriculture, to promote self-sufficiency and sustenance in food production.
She explained that the federal government recognised the role of Faith Based Organizations (FBOs) as integral part of the broader Civil Society, saying that the FBOs by concept and practice tend to evolve from and develop on faith communities’ conviction that they have a moral necessity to help those most in need and to improve their livelihood.
Adefulire, stated this in her opening remark at the opening ceremony of Faith Based Organisations Agriculture summit in Abuja recently. She noted that FBOs will provide meaningful employment to the teaming unemployed population and diversify the economy away from oil dependence.
“As a government, we will continue to create avenues for our religious leaders to offer leadership guidance as we aim to achieve inclusive development”.
According to her, “as a government, we will continue to create avenues for our religious leaders to offer leadership guidance as we aim to achieve inclusive development”.
She reiterated that President Mohammadu Buhari will continue to explore meaningful ways and means of improving the lives of all Nigerians. This is consistent with the policy thrust of the present administration that is focused on the engagement and empowerment programmes for Nigerians through Agriculture, due to its potentials for generating massive employment, creation of wealth and reduction of poverty.
Also speaking, the Convener of FBOs, Prince Segun Obayendo, said that because religion was conceptualized as unconnected to issue of socio-political and economic developments, and has thus received less attention.
The Convener explained that it’s therefore, becomes very pertinent to acknowledge the fact that there is at the moment a very bright prospect for the survival of Nigeria, economically, through adequate synergy with Faith-Based Organizations. “Whatever systems or methods the FBOs applied that have made them more effective in most of their engagements from time of origin; we need such measures in the agricultural sector for a better food secured nation”.
Obayendo said that out of the 98,321 million hectares of land available in Nigeria, about 30-75 percent may be regarded as arable land, which 10 percent under forest reserves and the remaining assumed to be made up of permanent pastures.
He disclosed that the challenges or constraints to agricultural development in Nigeria, which include Poor funding and coordination of agricultural extension; Marketing problems; Poor storage and processing; Infrastructural inadequacies; Unstable input and output of prices; Agricultural labour (crude methods) and Inadequacies in past policies and programmes, Inspite of all these inadequacies, the Agricultural sector remains the largest employer of labour and the highest contributor to our Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Agriculture today still accounts for over 40 percent of the GDP, but abysmally low in generating foreign earning through exports.
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