Richard Mark-Mbaram, Chief Executive Officer of AgroNigeria and AgroAfrica has called on the Federal Government to support the various agricultural and research Institutes in the country to promote research which will in turn aid productivity.
He dropped the hint while addressing newsmen in Lagos, stating that the research component of agriculture is phenomenally important and it is abysmally neglected and that it is research that aids productivity.
“If you talk to at least three leaders of research institutes you will hear them tell you that they are underfunded. So the question is how functional is the research agricultural apparatus of Nigeria to the serious needs that exists at the level of the farm gate or processing.
“The answer you will find evidently from the realities is because if you cannot fund them appropriately they cannot discharge their terms of reference. But what we have seen is a movement from offshore. For instance, we have seen that some Nigerians have taken up a critical position in the research ecosystem in the UK for instance,” he said.
He noted that keys to making agricultural transformation a reality is making modern technologies available and supporting investment in agricultural research and development.- Advertisement –
Mbaram while speaking on the outlook for the New Year expresses optimistic that the sector will move forward this year and that with what he has heard and witnessed makes him believe that the Minister of Agriculture, Mohammed Nanono is ready to work with the African Development Bank to use agro industrialisation as an effective strategy to achieve productive employment and reduction in poverty.
“I am a profound optimist in fact with what I have seen and with the conversations I have heard so far, both within and outside of the corridors of powers demonstrate clearly to me that there is hope. The signs I see is progressive.
He commended Nanono, for the partnership with African Development Bank (AfDB) to promote agro-allied industrialisation.
Speaking further, he said that under-performing agriculture was stifling the effective functioning of the industrial sector; and that this has resulted in a weak linkage between the agricultural and industrial sectors in the face of a myriad of opportunities.
Mbaram, thereby, called for an increased economic momentum through partnerships with the private sector to advance the industrialisation of the agricultural sector.