U.S. asks Nigeria to take charge of its forests
Amid concern of looming food crisis in the North-East, the Federal Government is to promote a private-driven agricultural mechanisation programme to boost food security in the country.
This is in line with the agricultural promotion policy of the government to achieve self-sufficiency in food production, encourage value addition to local materials and diversify the economy.
The Permanent Secretary in Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Bukar Hassan, stated this in his opening remark at the 42nd regular meeting of the National Council on Agriculture and Rural Development in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, yesterday.
Hassan said as part of efforts to boost food production and guarantee food security, the private-driven mechanisation programme would operate a machinery hiring enterprise scheme to also facilitate manufacturing of durable farm machinery that can withstand the varied geographical terrain and climatic condition of the country’s diverse ecosystem.
He explained that the reforms in the agricultural sector embarked upon by this administration would improve access of Nigerian farmers to import and credit. He further said there would also be emphasis on effective application of research results and increase commodity output to enhance processing capacity and broaden market access for farmers.
The permanent secretary vouched for government’s commitment to its agricultural promotion policy because of its belief that through it, the country will achieve self-sufficiency in food production, expand opportunity for job creation, reduce import dependency and stimulate export activities across the country.
In another development, the United States (U.S.) Ambassador to Nigeria, Stuart Symington, has put the responsibility of protecting the forests on Nigerians, saying much could be obtained from tourism.
Speaking at Drill Ranch in Calabar yesterday to commemorate Earth Day celebration, the ambassador said the U.S. government gets as much as $600 million yearly from Yellow Stone National Park, saying only Nigerians can decide the future of their country to get much given its biodiversity.
Director of Drill Ranch, Liza Gadsby, who had earlier conducted dignitaries round the ranch, said: “Nigeria has over 9.6 hectres of forest as the Cross River National Park (CRNP) represents two-thirds of Nigeria’s surviving tropical rainforest.”