By Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said on Tuesday that Nigeria would find it easier to overcome income problems by deliberately devoting its attention to commercial agriculture.
He said this when he had an audience with a delegation from the Development Program Commission for Western Nigeria (DAWN), at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
According to a statement released by the President’s Senior Special Assistant for Media and Publicity, Office of the Vice President, Laolu Akande, Osinbajo added that the hard work and dedication of all stakeholders in the sector will yield the desired result.
Osinbajo, who spoke after the Commission’s presentation on the Framework for Sustainable Agricultural Transformation in the States, said, “Agriculture can be the solution to a lot of our needs in RCI and a lot of our needs in resources; it has been proven so many times that it is possible.
Referring to what was possible to achieve in the 1950s and 1960s in the agricultural sector of the regional governments of the time, the vice-president noted that “the truth is that the difference between yesterday and today is the political will. There is no doubt that there is a lot more information today than there was then, but someone has to have the will to do it.
“There is no doubt that any part of Nigeria, if there is enough dedication and hard work, can feed the whole country. There are smaller countries that do not have the size of a state in Nigeria that produce enough and export products to other parts of the world.
Osinbajo also recognized the importance of private sector collaboration in transforming agriculture, but stressed the need for stakeholders to focus on research and development, noting that progress made by some countries around the world , especially in the field of commercial agriculture, were based on research.
According to him, “obviously what will get us out of the woodwork and make us relevant in terms of exporting and even in terms of meeting local demands is commercial agriculture”.
Responding to the concern raised by the challenges in developing the agricultural value chain, the Vice President said that “there must be a way to perfect the value chain and make sure the value chain works. Actually.
“Of course, this involves logistics, transport, credit facility, etc. Much more attention needs to be paid to the functioning of this value chain. It doesn’t matter how much you produce, if you don’t work on the value chain, you will simply waste a lot of resources. »
Regarding government policy, Osinbajo said, “We have done a lot of work with agro-export in particular. One of the problems we face is even with the whole export process. We are tackling the problem, we have had several meetings with agro-exporters. This is one of the issues we try to pay attention to.
He then commended the DAWN Commission for its efforts, noting that “the work the commission does is fundamental. It is a job not only for the present but perhaps for the future of the South West region and of course of the whole nation.
Earlier in his remarks, DAWN Director General Seye Oyeleye briefed the Vice President on the efforts made over the years, noting that the commission has drawn up plans for the development of the health and education sectors. in the 6 Southwestern states.
He also cited the revitalization of cocoa production and the framework for sustainable agricultural transformation in the region, among the achievements recorded by the commission during the 9 years of its establishment.
In the presentation of the agricultural transformation plan, Ms. Abiodun Oladipo, member of the delegation, said that the commission aims, among other things, to facilitate the operationalization of the existing master plans of the food crop processing zones (SCPZs) within the framework of the general objective of transforming agriculture. In the region.
She said DAWN’s collaboration with private investors will also facilitate value chain development in the production of cassava, cocoa, maize, oil palm and cotton.