Michael Olugbode in Maiduguri
The Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) has said the surest route for Nigeria to reach its full potential in agriculture is for the private sector to get more involved
Speaking to journalists in Maiduguri, Borno State, at the weekend during the assessment of FAO interventions in the state, the new Country Representative of the UN agency, Fred Kafeero, said Nigeria has great potential in agriculture but need the involvement of all stakeholders to achieve this.
Kafeero said: “Nigeria is a very important agricultural country. When you talk about agricultural potential, you are talking about the potential in several sub-sectors of agriculture.
“These include fisheries, as the country has both freshwater and the sea water-all these are fishery resources that could be fully harnessed and exported.
“What about the livestock sector? Nigeria has the largest herd of livestock in the Northeast sub-region.
“It has vast fertile arable land, with which various crops could be produced and processed to add more value to the system.
“When you talk of forestry resources, which are part of agriculture, Nigeria has all that. The point is how can we mobilise each and every stakeholder to support the government in this respect?”
He noted that the government alone cannot do all the harnessing and development of the agricultural, forestry and livestock resources.
“The role of the private sector has to be incorporated in the development of agricultural and livestock resources,” Kafeero said.
He noted that the government can set the enabling environment for all of them to operate, stressing that the drivers of agriculture are the Organised Private
Sector (OPS), as it can contribute to research, development, new innovations and technologies.
Kafeero said the FAO has always provided technical expertise in the agricultural and livestock sectors of the economy
He, however, lamented that 600,000 people in the Northeast have been added to the category of those in hunger with the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic.