National Agricultural Foundation of Nigeria (NAFN) in conjunction with Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development organized the 2013 National Agricultural Show, with the theme; Promoting Agribusiness Investment for Job and Wealth Creation and Sustainable Food Security at the National Agricultural Show Ground Tudun Wada, Karu LGA., Nasarawa State. The four day event showcased the agricultural potentials of the nation.
States at the show came with various farm produce from their states. Akwa Ibom state pavilion was the most attractive as they exhibited fresh fish amidst other farm produce. The Director of fisheries in the state, Bassy U. Uwe-Bassey told news men that fishery is one of the major pre-occupation of the people of Akwa Ibom. He stated that the state has empowered many youths in the sector thereby reducing unemployment in the state.
The four event will come to an end on the 7th of November, 2013.
The chief host of the event, Alhaji Umaru tanko Al-Makura, the governor of Nasarawa State, in his opening remarks said that the show was an avenue to expose the agricultural potentials and investment opportunity in the country to outside world. He made it clear that agriculture contributes 60% to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the nation and 6% of the foreign exchange earning of the country. He commended the Federal Government for giving the Bank of Agriculture (BOA) over ten billion naira to disburse to farmers in 2013.
Gov. Al-Makura said he had enjoined every government official to own a farm as he has his backyard farm where he works in the evenings. He revealed that his government subsidized fertilizer to the tune of 50% in the 2013 planting season. He commended Dangote Group for building the biggest sugar company in Africa in Nasarawa State.
The Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina represented the president at the occasion. He said that the alarm raised by press after the disastrous flood of last year made the Federal Government to embark on dry season rice production which paid off handsomely. He revealed the ten northern states produced over one million metric tons of rice under the programme, which is one-third of the country’s rice need annually. Other areas the country has made progress in agriculture, according to the Minister are; that Lagos State opened a rice processing plant and bought over 70metric ton of raw rice from Kebbi State; that Nigeria registered over 10million farmers electronically for far input distribution. He also disclosed that banks’ lending to farmers has increased from 2%-4% this year. He commended the organizers as the show has made Nigerians to see the improvements in the sector.
The Commissioner for Agriculture, Kogi State, Dr. Olufemi Bolarin believed that the show would become bigger in subsequent edition. He said his state governor Capt. Idris Wada prioritized agriculture as it is capable of creating jobs in a short space of time. He said that the stable crop processing zone in Adape which is situated on 13hectre of farm land has been impacting on the life of the people.
Tsoji M. Rikwen, Director Ministry of Agriculture, Taraba state, commended the organizers for bringing together farmers from across the nation to showcase their products.
On the other hand the special adviser to the Governor on agriculture, Prof.(Chief) Abubakar Dominic Akpa observed the low turnout of exhibitors at the event. He advised the authorities to improve the structures at the venue to make the show be of international standard.