The National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security have embarked on discussions to pool their technical expertise and resources to enhance agro-allied industries, address climate change challenges, and implement smart solar irrigation techniques for dry-season farming.
In a recent meeting held in Abuja on November 6, 2023, key figures in this collaboration included the Minister of Agriculture & Food Security, Senator Abubakar Kyari, the Minister of State, Hon. Sabi Aliyu Abdullahi, and the Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of NASENI, Mr. Khalil Suleiman Halilu. The aim of their partnership is to contribute to the success of the Renewed Hope Agenda set forth by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration.
Senator Abubakar Kyari emphasized the importance of the agricultural sector in achieving several key aspects of the government’s 8-Point Renewed Hope Agenda. He commended NASENI for including agriculture as one of its target areas, stating, “President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has given my Ministry the responsibility to carry out one of the important programs in the 8-point Renewed Hope agenda, which is food security and five others.”
Mr. Halilu, EVC of NASENI, expressed the agency’s readiness to collaborate with the Ministry to bolster agriculture and attain food security through technology adoption and transfer. He highlighted NASENI’s technical capabilities, technologies, and international partners, all geared towards making Nigeria self-sufficient in food production, processing, and exports. One of their ongoing initiatives is to refurbish approximately 50,000 broken tractors across the country under a presidential initiative, aimed at revitalizing large-scale land cultivation for farming.
The collaboration plans between NASENI and the Ministry encompass crop traceability, a rice straw project, climate change mitigation through scientific and technological research, and innovations to increase food production and reduce Nigeria’s dependence on food imports significantly.
Mr. Halilu stressed the importance of value addition to agricultural produce and raw materials before consumption or export. He also revealed that NASENI has attracted substantial investments, including around $6 billion at the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) Forum in China, with a significant portion earmarked for agriculture.
The Minister of State expressed his appreciation for NASENI’s visit and emphasized the need for government institutions to foster synergy and collaboration rather than competition. He echoed the government’s priority of food security and called for alignment with the Ministry’s focus by not only NASENI but also other agencies with related functions. This collaborative effort is seen as a way to combat poverty, create job opportunities, and address socio-economic challenges in Nigerian society.