‘Govt banking on agric to transform economy’

President Muhammedu Buhari-led administration is striving to reduce hunger and poverty through transforming agriculture, Ogun State Commissioner for Agriculture Mrs. Adepeju Adebajo has said.

She spoke at the Women in Management, Business and Public Service (WIMBIZ) CEO Policy Maker Breakfast in Lagos.

A panelist on the occasion, Mrs. Adebajo said the government was determined to transform agriculture into a competitive industry that creates jobs and sustains its food security campaign.

She said the Federal Government had taken steps to expand the sector to ensure food security. They include efforts to strengthen policies and the capacity to raise yields, promote market access among farmers, and improve management of the country’s rapidly expanding agriculture industry.

According to her, the economy remains on a solid footing, and the Federal Government is supporting the sector to play a critical role in the transformation, adding that agriculture is at the heart of that process.

To curb unemployment, she noted that youths were being equipped with skills that would help them gain employment in agriculture.

She reiterated that investing in agriculture could lead to huge returns for young people, and that the sector had enormous potential.

According to Mrs. Adebajo, a training has been held to give some youths guidance in value-addition and food processing practices.

She stressed that science and technology should be combined to enhance the transformation the sector required and to attract youths.

She said the sector needed Information Communication technology (ICT) skills to propel  new technologies and innovation to address the challenges farmers face.

In Ogun State, Mrs Adebajo said, agriculture is receiving attention, adding that the sector has shown  that it can provide employment, eradicate poverty and lead to economic diversification and industrialisation of the state.

Unilever Ghana and Nigeria Executive Vice-President Yaw Nsarkoh said increased agricultural productivity would boost national income.

He reiterated the readiness of the company to support smallholder farmers and help ensure a positive impact on the economy.

Nsarkoh said huge labour force was a critical national asset, calling for a system that rewards efficiency and merit.

Executive Council, WIMBIZ Chairperson, Olubunmi Aboderin-Talabi said the organisation had reached 93,000 women through its activities.

The forum provides a platform for high-level participants, including representatives from the private sector, to exchange views on investing in people for multiplier effect.

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