The Minister of state for Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Bukar Tijani has re-echoed the determination of the present administration to make agriculture a commercial venture where farmers will have quick returns on their investments rather than a subsistence initiative.
The Minister made the disclosure while addressing regional and States’ Directors of Agriculture who converged in Abuja to chat a new course that will add impetus to the Agriculture Transformation Agenda, ATA.
While promising the support of the Ministry in ensuring that the system continues, he maintained that the era where projects were discontinued simply because the initiator of a project had left office is no longer tenable. He therefore called on the regional and States’ Directors, who are not political appointees to drive this initiative.
He also informed the Directors that, President Goodluck Jonathan had perfected plans to introduce performance agreement among all the Ministers which he said, is aimed at assessing the performance of each of them.
He equally made a case for each state and region to look at “their comparative advantage” with a view to linking them up with efforts of the Federal Ministry and other stakeholders.
He called on the Directors to ensure that farmers are availed information within the shortest possible time. In his words, “We want to see a situation where extension services will be brought back on track and inputs will be available for farmers. The FG on its part will provide the policy framework needed for all these to take place”.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Acting Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mr. Chris Ene described the assignment as an important one that is central to the transformation agenda of the Federal Government. He called on the regional and States’ Directors to carry out the assignment with the seriousness it deserves.
He said the meeting was called to acquaint the Directors with what is expected of them and to urge them to ensure that the projects in their states and region are a success.
In his remarks, the Director of Human Resources in the Ministry, Mr. Oqua E. Etta said the decentralization of the Ministry is aimed at making those in charge of ATA in the states and regions to have a free hand in the course of carrying out their assignments.
Speaking on behalf of his colleagues in a vote of thanks, the Federal Capital Territory, Director of Agriculture, Charles Momoh promised that he and his colleagues will not let the Federal Government down in the drive to transform Nigerian Agriculture from the grassroots.