By: Joy Odor/Kaduna
The need to sustain the paradigm shift in the agricultural sector from social service to a business oriented venture to re-position and rejuvenate the economy has been stressed.
The Niger State Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello made the call during a visit to the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) in Abuja through his Chief Press Secretary Jibrin Baba Ndace Monday.
Governor Sani Bello noted that the nation’s quest of making agriculture an alternative source of national income requires that a deliberate action should be taken to revert the sector from the current social service status to a full blown business guided by global best practices.
He said government will have to spearhead the transition process, in view of the risk entail by preparing and packaging work plans that would enable the private sector to take full ownership of the new drive.
The Governor informed that “having identified agriculture as a veritable alternative to oil, we have to shift the sector from being a social service to a full business concern for our economy to improve.
“For this shift to be actualized, government will have to be at the fore-front to develop the sector in view of the initial risk involved which the private sector may not be too willing to take”.
Governor Sani Bello who pointed out that agriculture is a cardinal focus of his administration said the state was set to cash on its potentials as an agrarian state and vast arable land to change the sector and improve its economy.
He then called for the collaboration of NIRSAL in perfecting the state’s agricultural development plan as his administration is poised to drive and actualize the shift in the sector.
“We have what it takes to feed the nation that is why we are here to solicit for your collaboration. We need your technical and financial support. We need NIRSAL in concert with our team to put up a robust and measurable plan on our agricultural sector. We have the land that is capable of growing many crops,” the governor told his host.
Earlier, the Managing Director of NIRSAL, Alhaji Aliyu Abdulhameed said the Central Bank of Nigeria floated company was ready to offer its expertise to farmers and government of Niger State in re-positioning the agricultural sector in the state.
He agreed that agric-economy can only deliver when the country revert it from agriculture as a culture or social service to agric-business.
Alhaji Aliyu assured Governor Bello that the agency was prepared to partner with the state government as part of its mandate to engage both private and public sectors in planning, executing and monitoring agricultural development plan.
He said the agency was set to work with the state in view of its prime position in agricultural sector in the country. According to him, “you cannot do agriculture in Nigeria without Niger State. The vast arable land and large collection of water in the state, we are set to collaborate with the state to provide both technical and financial support to the state”.
Governor Sani Bello was accompanied on the visit by the state Commissioner for Agriculture, Hon. Kabiru Abbas, Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, Alhaji Mohammed Nda, Chairman, CBN Anchor Borrowers Scheme for the state, Alhaji Mamman Ahmad and Hon. Musa Mahmud.