By Abisola THOMPSON
Stakeholders in agriculture have called on government at all levels to reposition the sector toward economy diversification and food security in the country.
The stakeholders made the call at the ongoing International Agricultural Technology Exhibitions Conference in Osogbo.
Mr Araokanmi Suleiman, the Chairman of Osun All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), urged governments to focus more on agricultural sector to restore its lost glory.
Suleiman noted that agriculture, which was one of the major sectors in Nigeria, had engaged more than 70 per cent of the population of the country.
He said that the sector had also helped in increasing the Gross Domestic Products (GDP) in the country.
Suleiman said that farmers should be seen as major stakeholders because of the key role they played growth of the economy.
He noted that before the discovery of oil in the 70s, the country relied heavily on agriculture which placed it among the comity of nations.
Suleiman also appealed to foreign partners to support farmers in in developing the sector to ensure food security and job creation.
Dr Adetunji Ajagbe, the Chairman, Governing Board, Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN), also appealed to stakeholders in agricultural sector to support the Federal Government in diversifying economy.
Ajagbe said that research agricultural institutes and colleges of agriculture across the country were present at the exhibition to promote the interest of agriculture in the country.
”We have to show the whole world that we have much interest in promotion of agricultural products and that is why the exhibition is important,” Agbaje said.
Mr Remi Kolajo, the former special adviser to former Gov. Rauf Aregbesola on Agriculture and Food Security said that the exhibition would go away long way in strengthening the agricultural sector and creation jobs.
Kolajo said that Osun, which happened to be an agrarian state, had so far played a major role in taking agriculture from the traditional practice to the modern practice.
”Osun government has done a lot in the area of taking agriculture from the traditional style to the modern style through its agricultural policies which is noticeable nationwide.
“This exhibition will help farmers to promote modern farming technology in the country,” Kolajo said.
Mrs Funmilayo Osunde, the Director, FESCO Nigeria Ltd., said the purpose of the exhibition was to support the present policies on agriculture being embarked upon by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Osunde, who described agriculture as a real enterprise, called on both foreign and local agricultural experts to
assist in proffering solutions to agricultural problems in the country.
She commended President Muhammadu Buhari for giving priority attention to the sector through loans, grants and support for farmers.
The director, however, called on the Corporate Farmers Union (CFU), and the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), to suppport the Federal Government in the development of the sector and the promotion of agricultural products.
TBI Africa said that the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the exhibition, which drew foreign partners from Isreal, Venezuela, Republic of Benin among other countries, afforded farmers the opportunity to exhibit their agricultural products.