By Dipo Olowookere
Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara State has stressed that the current economic recession remains a blessing in disguise because it provides Nigeria with the opportunity to take necessary decisions to diversify the economy, especially through agriculture.
Mr Ahmed, while speaking on Monday during the maiden Harmony Agriculture International Fair holding in Ilorin, the state capital, noted that agriculture remains one of the ways Nigeria can end recession and tackle poverty.
He explained that agribusiness is capable of delivering sustained prosperity by achieving domestic food security, generating exports and supporting sustainable income and job growth.
The Governor said he was excited to see more youths showing interest in agribusiness and assured that the government will continue to support them.
He disclosed that the state government will work with a network of investors, farmers, processors and other stakeholders in the agricultural value-chain industry to strengthen the supporting infrastructure to ensure that quality standards are defined and maintained across the value-chain.
Governor Ahmed also advised Nigerian farmers to familiarize themselves with agricultural research and innovation and use the knowledge to expand their productivity and profitability as well as engage in value-added activities like processing and packaging.
Mr Ahmed emphasized that agriculture provides a way out of Nigeria’s economic challenges and offers sustained prosperity for the people. The governor, however, said this can only be achieved if the country adopts well-articulated and structured approaches to agribusiness, which leverage on modern research and technology.
He said the country must also promote value addition through agro-processing, attract affordable funding, provide reliable infrastructure such as good roads and irrigation and implement supportive policies.
Earlier in his remarks, the Group Managing Director of Harmony Holdings, Mr Tope Daramola, stressed the importance of mechanised farming in the transformation of agriculture, and assured that the Holdings will continue to promote improved agriculture in Kwara.
The Harmony Holdings boss disclosed that a database of active farmers in the State is being created to ease the replication of commercial farming projects across the state, adding that the farmers will be provided with the necessary assistance.
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