COVID-19 Has Left Agricultural Sector In Extremely Difficult Situation – Minister

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6,000 hectares of land being cultivated during the 2019/2020 irrigation farming in the dry season in Gombe State.

By; SANI ALIYU, Zaria

The Minister  of  Agriculture  and  Rural  Development,  Alhaji  Sabo Nanono  has   said that the COVID-19  outbreak  has  left  the  agricultural sector  in  an  extremely  difficult  situation  that  puts  food  supply  at  serious  risk  for  2021  and  beyond.

He  stated  this  while  declaring open  the  SAA/SG2000 Nigeria   annual  stakeholders  workshop  held at  the  NAERLS  Conference  hall,  ABU Zaria  with   the  theme, “Promoting  Effective  Value  Chain Extension  Delivery  Services  Amidst  COVID-19  Pandemic”.

Alhaji  Sabon Nanono  who was  represented  by  Mohammed  Shehu  Adamu, Technical  Assistant  to the   Minister,   said  that those  who  are  hardest  hit by the  COVID-19  outbreak  are   the  poorest  most  vulnerable  populations  as  well as   small  holder  farmers  whose  house hold  incomes  and   food  security  are  at  risk .

He  said , rural  communities  and  producers  are  not  always  we;ll  informed  and  supported, while  there  is  an  increasing  demand  to  ensure  that   farmers  have  access  to  basic  series  and  accurate  information during   unprecedented  crisis.

The Minister  callef  on all  Institutions and  stakeholders  to  play  an effective  and  efficient  role  in  rising  awareness  of COVID-19   in  rural  areas  to  reduce  the  spread  of the   pandemic  ensuring that  rural  farmers  have   relevant  and  accurate  information and  services  to  support  their  agricultural  production  both  during  and  post –  crisis.

He  noted  that  extension  agents  assistance  is  even  more critical  than  before in  supporting  rural  producers,  youth,  women and  elderly,  to   overcome  the  new  and   unfamiliar  challengers.

In his remarks, the Regional Director SAA, Mel Oluoch said Sasakawa Africa Asssociation Nigeria has achieved very much despite the COVID-19 yet the result is very encouraging. 


He said, SAA has playn to encourage farmers in the grassroot to be engaged  seriously to enhance sufficient food production in Africa.

 
Also in his message, the Vice Chancellor Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Professor Kabir Bala said there is a very long collaboration between NAERLS and SAA in promoting agricultural development in the country. 


Represented by the Director NAERLS, Professor Emmanuel Ikani commended the Sasakawa Africa Association for its continuous efforts towards educating local farmers on the new farming techniques which is the order of the day globally. 


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