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Friday, February 23, 2024

FG To Use Unused Lands Of Tertiary Institutions For Farming

The Federal Government at the weekend revealed its plan to use vacant land on tertiary institution campuses for agricultural purposes, as part of its strategy to enhance food production nationwide.

Senator Abubakar Kyari, the Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, made this announcement during the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, Eastern Nigeria Union Conference Centenary Public Lecture and Food Summit, held under the theme ‘Ending Food Shortages in Nigeria: Applying The Surplus Concept’ in Port Harcourt.

Represented by the Ministry’s Deputy Director of Nutrition and Food Safety, Nuhu Kilishi, Kyari revealed that letters have already been sent to these institutions to request their consent.

He also mentioned that some of the tertiary institutions have responded positively, highlighting that this initiative is a significant step toward revitalizing agriculture within schools.

“We want to revive farming in the schools and institutions. We have written to the universities and schools for them to let us utilise hectares of their land that are unused.

“They have started responding, by the time we have a reasonable level of compliance, there is going to be a programme that would ensure that those empty lands are being used for cultivation and this will add to food availability,” Kyari said.

While noting that the Federal Government in a bid to reduce the cost of cultivation would provide farmers with solar powered irrigation pumps, he advised farmers not to stop at production of agricultural produce, but to explore the options of processing those products in order to maximise profit.

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“Farmers need to use irrigation pumps, so the ministry is intending to buy solar pumps for farmers to cut costs for them. Instead of using petrol they would be using solar pumps.

“The Minister has rolled out immediate, short term, medium and long term plans that would address food shortage in Nigeria.

“I will advise farmers that after producing don’t stop at production, go into processing, value addition because it pays more to do that,” he added.

Keynote speaker at the event, a Professor of Plant Breeding and Genetics at the Babcock University, Cyril Nwamguruka, identified selfishness as the bane of food shortage in the country.

Nwamguruka called on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to appoint only selfless and committed individuals to handle public offices.

He stated, “I am appealing to the President, he should also act beyond looking at people’s competence. He should look at their track record in terms of how fair, how sincere, how committed and how truthful they are in things they have handled in the past.

“Because selfishness is what is killing us, irrespective of the abundance of resources we have, some people want to have it to themselves. But if you have a moral compass that is guiding you, you will think beyond yourself.”

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