Mr Dapo Olorunyomi, Chief Executive Officer, Premium Times Nigeria, on Monday said that the organisation was collaborating with some stakeholders in efforts to overhaul the country’s agricultural sector.
Olorunyomi said this in Abuja at a National Symposium on Agriculture, organised by Premium Times Nigeria and supported by Nigeria Incentive-Base, Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL).
He said that the organisation was collaborating with some agricultural stakeholders to effectively address the challenges facing the agricultural sector, with a view to finding the way forward.
He said that the symposium was designed to stimulate quality interaction at the different levels of the agricultural value chain.
Olorunyomi said that the partnership between Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism and NIRSAL would spearhead the interaction.
“If you look at agricultural policy all the year, you can see that something is missing; there is a communication gap.
“Now, what we are looking at is how we can fill the gap in such a way that it can bring about a positive outcome, and that is our focus.
“It is believed that after the symposium, the local community farmers will have a clear knowledge of the policy and market incentives so as to maximise the gains of their production.
“It will also facilitate access to the efforts and impact of NIRSAL in de-risking the agricultural sector,’’ he said.
Olorunyomi said that the main goal of the programme was to produce a compendium of efficient strategies for transforming and rebuilding the sector.
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He also said that the programme was aimed at highlighting the bottlenecks in de-risking the agricultural sector, while articulating the challenges and opportunities across the agricultural value chain.
He said that one of the objectives of NIRSAL was to revamp agricultural value chains so as to provide a reliable platform for de-risking agricultural lending.
Speaking, Prof. Babagana Gambo, Lead Consultant on Agricultural Matters to Nigeria Governors Forum, said that the symposium would draw for stakeholders a roadmap of actions to improve the sector.
He said that agriculture was the economic mainstay of the country prior to the discovery of oil.
Gambo recalled that Nigeria was then a leading agricultural economy, adding that the country was the largest producer of palm oil and groundnut as well as a significant producer of cotton and cocoa.
He added that agriculture was the country`s main source of employment and export revenues at that point in time
He, however, urged the stakeholders to adopt a dynamic and holistic approach in efforts to tackle the challenges facing the agricultural sector, adding that this would go a long way to improve the sector.