Scientific evidence, learnings and recommendations from research institutes will be considered while drafting the National Agriculture and Technology Innovation Plan of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), said Dr Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Nigeria. He was speaking at the debriefing session of outcomes of socio-economic studies conducted by ICRISAT and partners in Nigeria.
In partnership with, and support from national research for development partners, ICRISAT led the value chain analysis and adoption studies to generate evidence of impacts of crop breeding on end-users of technologies. Three value chain analyses, two value adoption studies and a foresight analysis were carried out in 2020-2021. Alongside these studies, a pioneering end-of-project implementation technical report was compiled. Considering that outcomes of these studies provide pathways to strengthening partnerships in Nigeria, they were reviewed by partners and put together into seven technical working documents.
The Minister cited the slow uptake of improved crop technologies, including value additions, limited access to farm inputs, inadequate extension service delivery, poor market linkages and lack of synergies among value chains actors as persisting challenges of the agricultural sector in Nigeria.
Offering science-based solutions to Nigeria’s agriculture challenges, Dr Hakeem Ayinde Ajeigbe, Country Representative, ICRISAT-Nigeria, said that the session was organized to:
- Share outcomes of six socio-economic studies and one end-of-project implementation report;
- Provide evidence likely to be used in policy action(s) in agricultural and related sectors;
- Pursue formal and informal processes of mutual learning between/amongst the CGIAR and NARS partners in Nigeria; and
- Provide an opportunity for the Minister of FMARD to launch seven technical working documents developed by ICRISAT-Nigeria.
The Honorable Minister Dr MM Abubakar applauded ICRISAT for persistently championing initiatives in developing sorghum, millet and groundnut value chains as well as climate-smart agriculture. He said FMARD is ready to partner with research institutes in ongoing and new initiatives targeting the promotion of agricultural value chains. “Sorghum should be given the priority it deserves and I want collaborators of the FMARD to take note that efforts should be made for sorghum to be given the same attention as cassava, rice and maize,” he said.
The Permanent Secretary of the FMARD, Dr Ernest Umakhihe, congratulated ICRISAT for the pioneering initiative in value chain studies and development, and for updating on outcomes of its socio-economic studies. The Chairman of the House Committee on Agricultural Research Institutes and Colleges, Honorable Munir Babba Dan Agundi thanked ICRISAT for sharing the outcomes of its research with policy-makers. He shared his firsthand experiences working with ICRISAT and urged the Minister to visit the headquarters in Hyderabad (India) to know more about the institute’s research for development interventions worldwide.
Participants at the event lauded ICRISAT’s contributions to the promotion of sorghum, millet and groundnut value chains, crop-livestock integration and management of degraded lands in Nigeria. Policy-makers who participated in the event included scientists and policy makers from agricultural research institutes, technical departments of the FMARD and the private sector.
The meeting was organized by ICRISAT-Nigeria in partnership with FMARD, Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR), Lake Chad Research Institute (LCRI) and the Center for Dryland Agriculture of the Bayero University of Kano (CDA-BUK).
The strategic partners of ICRISAT in Nigeria include the commodity value chain units of the FMARD, State-based Agricultural Development Projects, IAR, LCRI, CDA-BUK, National Agricultural Seeds Council (NASC). Civil society partners are SASAKAWA Africa Association (SAA), and Women Farmers Advancement Network (WOFAN).