Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh has announced that Nigeria’s agricultural exports increased by 55 percent in the last one year.
Ogbeh who was on a working visit to the Agriculture and Veterinary Complex of the Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, ABU, Kaduna State explained that agricultural exports from the Tin Can Island Port had increased by 150 percent over the last one year while rice imports had reduced by 95 percent over the last two years.
He stated that the visit was to enable the Federal Government to have an understanding of challenges being faced by the agricultural institutes within the complex.
He decried the insufficient number of extension workers to help educate farmers on farming techniques such as planting, harvesting, and storage.
The minister, however, noted that the ministry would sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the National Agriculture Extension Research Liaison Services, NAERLS as part of efforts to establish one extension office in every Local Government Area in the country.
He added that the institutes would be provided with funds to enable them to give soft agricultural loans to farmers.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor Administration, ABU, Prof. Kabiru Bala said the three institutes had been supporting the ongoing agricultural revolution through agricultural researchers.
He said new technologies were needed to boost food production for Nigeria to effectively tackle poverty.
The professor added that the quest to diversify the economy could be facilitated through the partnership of the ABU, the research institutes and the Ministry of Agriculture.
The Agriculture and Veterinary Complex of the Ahmadu Bello University comprises of the Institute for Agriculture Research, IAR; National Animal Production Research Institute, NAPRI and National Agriculture Extension and Research Liaison, NAERLS.