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.