Nigeria’s 56% agricultural land not in use – Minister

The federal government said on Thursday there were many opportunities in the agricultural sector, as more than 56 percent of available farmland was still unoccupied.

That is what the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Mohammad Abubakar, said in Jos on Thursday while addressing participants at the ongoing 45th regular meeting of the National Council for Agriculture and Rural Development.

According to the minister: “Nigeria has a total of 79 million hectares of agricultural land and only 44% is cultivated. The country also has 267 billion cubic meters of fresh surface water and 58 billion cubic meters of underground water, with 37 billion cubic meters stored in dams alone. The annual rainfall in the country is within 300mm to 4,000mm. Conversely, the potential irrigable acreage is about 3.14 million hectares, of which less than 7% is currently used.”

However, the minister said the government was doing everything it could to encourage agriculture, training 153,124 women and youth in the value chains of crops, fisheries and animal husbandry and giving 142,703 powers. He said the government had also trained 214,787 farmers in Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and 220,018 farmers in Farmer Business School.

To improve performance, the minister said the federal government is strengthening the link between research, agriculture and industry by stepping up the process of developing the value chain of raw materials.

“This is led by the new National Agricultural Technology and Innovation Policy framework, 2022-2027, launched in August 2022, which aims to modernize the agricultural sector in line with changing global food systems and supply chains.

“Actually, NATIP is the ministry’s response to the current governance agenda to diversify the country’s economy from petroleum-based to agriculture and solid minerals. The document serves as a follow-up to the 2016-2020 agricultural promotion policy, with a view to developing priority value chains based on comparative ecological advantage in the subsectors of crops, livestock and fisheries, in collaboration with the state government.

“In implementation of our mandate to ensure food security, job creation and wealth creation in the country, the ministry is committed to supporting the establishment of more than 100 processing centers in rural communities across the country under the the Green Imperative Project of a privately driven mechanization program.”

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