Nigeria Facing Challenges In Food Sufficiency – ABU VC

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Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria

By; SANI ALIYU, Zaria

The  Vice  Chancellor  Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, Professor  Kabir  Bala has  said that Nigeria is  experiencing  serious  challenges with  regards  to meeting its food    needs  in the  face of the  current  COVID-19  pandemic   and  insecurity  issues.

Bala stated this  at  the  annual National  Agricultural  Extension  Review and  Planning  Meeting 2020 held  at the  National  Agricultural  Extension and  Laison  Service (NAERLS/ABU) Zaria.

Represented   by the  Chairman Agric  Complex ABU Zaria  and  Director  National  Animal Production Research  Institute (NAPRI) Shika, Professor  Abdullahi  Kolo Muhammad, he  said Nigeria  is  listed  among  the  41  countries  across  the  globe  that  have  slipped  into  an  economic  recession,  due  to the  inactive  period  of  the  global  lockdown.

He  said the  university is  of the  belief  that  the  current  administration  of   President Muhamadu Buhari  has   demonstrated  to all that  agriculture  is  very  crucial to  diversifying   the  economy.

According  to  him, several  policies  that  promote  agriculture  productivity,  such  as  agricultural  mechanization  programme, national  fertilizer  control  scheme  as  well as  the  revitalization of  agricultural extension  through the  development  of  a  robust  extension policy  were put in  place  even amidst the  pandemic  lockdown.

The Vice  Chancellor  noted  that  all  well-documented  weaknesses  in the  extension  system as  well as  the  failure  of  innovation  at the   investors  level   led  to the  system’s  ineffectiveness.

He therefore,  said  a review  of  agricultural  extension  activities  for  2020  and  planning   for  the  2021  activities  are  critical to   transforming  the  sector  from the  present  passive  state  to the  ideal  model  with a  clear  market  and  business  orientation.

Prof. Kabir  Bala urged  the  participants  to develop  new  strategies   for  extension  services, tightly linked  to  agricultural research  and  promotion  of  demand- driven  and  pluralistic  series  with the  strong  involvement of  the  private  sector.

Earlier in  his  welcome  address, the  Director  National  Agricultural   Extension  Research  and  liaison  services  (NAERLS), Professor  Emmanuel I. Ikani  said  2020 is  a  year  that  COVID-19  pandemic  has  caused  so  much  disturbances  in the  global  health, ceremony  and  social  relations  and  also  a  year  of  debilitating  security  situation  in  Nigeria.

Prof.  Ikani  said  NAERLS has  decided to  leverage on the  its  e-extension  platforms  to  virtually  expand  participation   at the  review  and  planning  meeting  while  limiting  the   physical   attendance .

According  to  him, the  result  of the  2020  agricultural  performance  survey  showed that  COVID-19  and  the  consequent  lockdown  led to  drastic  increase  in  price of  input  shortage in  farm  labour and  restricted  mobility of  farmers and  extension  agents .

The  Director said the  global  community  has  shown  that  life may  never  return  to its   pre-COVID-19 era, and the  Institute has  plans   for  the  adjustment which  will  be   better  for  the  nation as  NAERLS is  fully  on  ground  to  assist and  collaborate  with  any  public  or private  organization in  this  regards. 

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