By Akogu Yusuf
The newly appointed Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr. Mohammed Mahmoud, on Wednesday took over the helms of affairs at the ministry, promising to continue with the present administration’s policy agenda on food security as well as focusing on livestock transformation as a tool to curb insecurity in the country.
Abubakar, during the handover ceremony by the former Minister of Agriculture, Alhaji Sabo Nanono, added that, “Food security is everything.”
He said his administration would create policy direction necessary to reposition the agricultural sector as the mainstay of the Nigerian economy.
He said, “The priority of this ministry under my leadership will be to ensure that we provide the necessary policy direction and drive that will truly position agriculture as the mainstay of our economy as captured in the Medium-term National Development Plan, and the president’s vision of lifting 100 million people out of poverty in 10 years.
“In this regard, a livestock transformation plan will be a priority, due to its implication not just on food security but also on the impact in tackling security in the country.”
Abubakar also pledged to strengthen research and extension services in the sector, to promote and translate best practices into concrete deliverables in the agricultural and livestock value chain.
He appealed to Nigerians to patronise Made-in-Nigeria products, particularly agricultural produce.
He said this would boost the local production capacity and aid food exportation.
He said, “We should buy agriculture product, which is the only way we can support our farmers: during the border closure we eat local rice.
“There is no reason why we cannot do this, we have the talent, and all that is needed to make Nigeria the number one producer and exporter of food in africa.
“The job of keeping our environment safe is the responsibility of everybody, so is same with Agriculture. I hope to do more than the previous minister have done.”
Earlier, Nanono, thanked the staff and management for the support accorded him while he held sway and urged them to also support the new minister.
He said that the ministry remained an institution with huge responsibility.
He said issues bordering on fertilisers, fulani/herder clash, job creation among others needed to be prioritised.
He said, “It is when this ministry succeed that we will have food security, stability in this country.
“So when we focus on this priority areas we will be helping our country to achieve stability as well as secure our country food security wise.
“We can do it, we stopped importation of rice, I hope we will do that for wheat, I hope we will that for fish, maize and other crop because these are the mandates of the ministry.
“I have already retired to my farm, I will become a client of this ministry.”