Nigeria has hundreds of profitable agribusiness opportunities – IITA boss

The Deputy Director General, Partnerships for Delivery, CGIAR-IITA, Kenton Dashiell, has encouraged Nigerians to take up sustainable and profitable opportunities in the country’s agriculture sector.

A statement issued by the institute said he made this appeal during his keynote address at the National Conference on Agricultural Innovations for Food Security in the Post COVID-19 Era organised by the AgroBusiness Times.

In his presentation, Dashiell highlighted multiple technologies and solutions that could help to sustainably achieve food security.

He emphasised that farmers and other actors in the different agricultural value chains must use proven technologies appropriately and precisely to succeed.

According to him, adhering to excellent farm practices and standards will guarantee high levels of productivity, including increased crop yields.

Dashiell also advocated the use of location-specific advice and reviews to optimise the knowledge of local experts.

“If you are working to improve your production practices and you are in Kano State, you need to find experts and advice from people in Kano because they know the right way to do it. If you are in Oyo State, go to your experts in Oyo State,” he said.

He encouraged people to work with State Agriculture Development Programmes or other local experts such as seed companies, agro-dealers, and universities.

He noted that many still think of the old manual methods of farming as representative of the agriculture sector today.

However, Dashiell debunked this view and cited several professional opportunities in the different value chains, which he insisted people should approach as a business.

He spoke on the importance of a business plan, a theme on which other speakers at the conference also focused.

Dashiell outlined some of the innovations that the Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation initiative was deploying at scale to strengthen the cassava, maize, rice, aquaculture, and poultry value chains.

Earlier, the Assistant Director of Agricultural Biotechnology at the National Biotechnology Development Agency, Dr Rose Gidado, spoke on the need to diversify the economy to attain economic growth and food security.

Representing the NABDA acting Director-General, Prof. Alex Akpa, she commended the Nigerian government for implementing policies that had strengthened the agriculture sector.

She called for more action to help achieve optimum food production levels.

“Nigeria cannot attain food security with the current way agriculture is practiced,” said Gidado.

“The nation’s economic growth must be accompanied by diversification of the economy by adopting sustainable and innovative technologies that advance food production.”

source: punch

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