The Federal Government has urged farmers to deepen collaborations that would strengthen the agricultural sector and diversify the nation’s economy.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Mohammad Abubakar, made the appeal in Abuja during the National Farmers Day Celebration.
The event was themed: “Farmers Development: A panacea to Nigeria’s economic impasse“.
Abubakar stated that agriculture is a sector people can continue to diversify into without end.
“Agriculture can never end, as long as humanity exists and we must come together to move the country forward through agriculture.
“The economy was depending on oil and gas for our foreign exchange and development until the inception of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration, who initiated agriculture as the way forward for Nigeria.
“The small-holder farmers consisting of women and youths constitute 70 per cent of the production of food in this country and we cannot do without them.
“The ministry has been working with the small holder farmers to achieve the objectives of the president to move the nation forward through agricultural diversification of the country.
Earlier, Dr Farouk Mudi, the National President, All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), said that the essence of the Farmers Day Celebration is a day that avail agricultural stakeholders especially agro-allied industries the opportunity to meet each other.
“It will also enable them establish linkages and synergies that can take farming to the next business level through mechanisation and agricultural industrial development.
“Farmers’ Day is here to stay. It gives me a great pleasure to address this August assembly of Nigerian Farmers, AFAN, is pleased to have you all here as you came from nooks and crannies of our great country Nigeria to showcase our rich agricultural practices and services.
“The National Farmer’s Day is an intrernational annual event that offers the much-deserved praise to the hard-working farmers across nations.
“It is also a day to promote consumer-manufacturer relationship through the exhibitions of agricultural products, equipment, tools, other agro-related goods and services to celebrate farmers, who immensely contribute to the growth and development of the nation.
“This event is intended to achieve sustainable food security and job creation, most especially for youths, that will accommodate exhibition and networking in agriculture,” he said.
Mudi said that inspite of the myriads of challenges farmers faced during the recent raining season of flooding and loss of farm produce, Nigerian farmers are still able to extend their gesture to distribute free foodstuff as a sign of thanksgiving to the Almighty God for what farmers were able to harvest.
The Chairman, Board of Trustees of AFAN, retired Admiral Murtala Nyako, applauded the federal government for its continued support to the association, urging all members of AFAN to come together and put their past differences aside, while supporting the sitting officials to deliver on their mandate.