NIGERIA – Plateau State Governor, Caleb Mutfwang, has restated his commitment to revamping the agricultural sector toward boosting the economy of the state.
Mutfwang gave the assurance during the 37th Reunion Service of Old Students of Boys High School, Gindiri (GOSA).
The governor, a member of GOSA, acknowledged the critical role of the agricultural sector in revamping the state’s economy and promised to adopt a multi-sectoral approach to resuscitate key agricultural programs in the state.
He promised to achieve the feat through stronger and sustained partnership with relevant institutions in the state.
“My administration will place more emphasis on agriculture in order to boost the economy of the state,” he said.
Despite this optimistic outlook, Nigeria’s agriculture sector faces significant huddles that require urgent reforms for Governor Mutfwang’s dream to be attained.
For instance, recently, Nigeria’s agriculture produce exports to the US were rejected over phytosanitary issues.
The United States Department for Agriculture (USDA) attributed the dismissal on the lack of food safety documentation.
The Councilor for Agriculture Affairs, USDA, Christopher Bielecki, disclosed this at a Food and Feed Safety Expertise Coordination workshop organized by the Nigeria Economic Summit Group in partnership with Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, the Food and Agriculture Export Alliance (FAEA) and the University of Missouri (MU).
“I have spoken to producers, who are challenged with the difficulty of exporting Nigerian agricultural produce to the world including the U.S.,” he said.
“They have reported a high rate of rejection and this rejection mostly as a result of lack of documentation on food safety.”
The USDA official stated that his office is working to ensure that food and agricultural exporters into the U.S. abide by importing rules of food safety regulations and laws.
According to Bielecki, improving food safety will not only help reduce rejections, stimulate trade, but also help Nigeria improve food and agricultural trade, increase GDP and increase foreign reserves.
The Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Ali Pate, stated that in a deliberate effort to ensure country attain National health security status, the ministry is set to validate the revised National Policy on Food Safety and Quality, as well as launch the first National Integrated Guidelines for Food borne Disease Surveillance and Response.
The revised policy, he stated, will look at new and emerging areas that will improve the regulatory, enforcement and data-gathering system as well as set the roadmap for the integrated surveillance of foodborne diseases and establish the protocols for the response to food safety emergencies in the country.
Nigeria’s, according to a report by ReportLinker, has 70.8 million hectares of agriculture land. The region’s agricultural GDP is projected to reach nearly USD 98 billion by 2026, an increase of 0.4% from 2021’s USD 95.7 billion.
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