By Amuda Dan Sulaiman Fab
As part of efforts to restore agriculture back to its enviable status, the FCT Minister of State, Dr. Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, has inaugurated a 12-man agricultural development programme executive committee to drive the process.
While inaugurating the committee, the minister said in line with the President Muhammadu Buhari’s mandate of lifting about 100 million out of poverty, the FCT Administration places high premium on agriculture as a viable tool for ensuring food and nutrition security aimed at reduction of poverty and creation of jobs amongst households in the territory.
According to her; “The commitment of this administration to ensuring increased productivity in the agricultural sector and poverty reduction is evidenced in the initiation of series of viable and sustainable policies and programmes aimed at restoring agriculture back to its initial enviable status before the discovery of oil.
“The recently launched National Agricultural Technology and Innovation Policy (NATIP) which is meant to provide a roadmap for the transformation of the agri-food systems in Nigeria is another giant step taken by the administration in ensuring food security in the country.
“The policy aims to bring about a long lasting economic and social change through public and private sector investment in agriculture and rural development”
Aliyu stressed that the policy also seeks to meet the needs of women, young people and people with special needs, by consciously incorporating technology and innovation into the agricultural sector which, she said requires engagement of appropriate strategies for effective delivery.
The minister noted that in order to ensure greater efficiency in the operations of the Agricultural Development Programme, a change of approach and structural transformation has become inevitable.
She, therefore, expressed the hope that the reversal of the FCT Agriculture Development Programme to its initial Agency status cannot be done at a better time than now as issues of food security is a front burner in the programmes of this administration.
She said; “the agenda status is believed will put the establishment in a better position to discharge its responsibility more effectively, leveraging the existing structure”.
In his acceptance speech on behalf of the committee members, FCTA Permanent Secretary and chairman of the committee, Mr. Olusade Adesola, noted that the commitment of the FCT Minister of State towards the development of the agricultural sector has led to the inauguration of the committee.
“You are concerned on the need to promote agriculture and by extension employment in the FCT and these are all outcomes that are embedded in the agric development programme”, he stressed.
While acknowledging that the task before the committee is daunting, he promised that the committee would work assiduously to achieve the attainment of the aims and objectives of the project.