By Felicia Imohimi
Nigeria Institute of Soil Science (NISS) has commended Agribusiness Innovation International for engaging HI-Tech Agro business establishments, professionals among others for the development of new approaches to crop improvement and value addition to staple foods.
The Registrar of NISS, Prof. Victor Chude, gave the commendation at the AGRICON conference on Tuesday, in Abuja with the theme: “#EndHunger Today: Building a National Resilience for Sustainable Food Security.”
The conference was organised by Agribusiness Innovation International in collaboration with FCTA, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, MDAs among others.
Chude said that the conference was commendable considering where the world is today, amidst challenges of COVID-19 pandemic, environmental degradation as well as economic and political unrests which continue to affect food systems and food production.
“I commend AGRICON for undertaking this laudable initiative to engage HI-Tech Agro business establishments, professionals, consultants, scholars and agro strategic architects for the development of new approaches to crop improvement, value addition of staple foods.
“Also for scientific techniques on improvement of farm yields as well as exhibit modern farm technologies,” he said.
The registrar described the conference theme as apt considering the challenges faced by the average Nigerian farmer.
Chude identified the challenges as insecurity, vagaries of weather conditions worsened by climate change and environmental degradation as well as low level of farm mechanisation and production systems.
Other challenges are low level of investment, poor harvesting and storage facilities, low access to credit and high exposure to risk as well as inefficient and ineffective soil management systems.
The registrar, who emphasised that the agricultural production gradient was skewed against the Nigerian farmer, however, said it such should not be allowed to continue.
“It has become important for all agricultural stakeholders to come together to surmount these problems by collectively acting to build resilient and sustainable food systems that will boost agricultural production in farming communities.
“This begins with being responsible and accountable stakeholders wherever we find ourselves on the value-chain.’’
Chude noted that the institute aligned with the objectives of the conference in contributing to the achievement of increased agricultural productivity, a precondition for the nation’s food security.
He specifically noted that the institute continually train farmers and extension agents across the country on sustainable soil management practices.
He noted that the institute was currently operating a five-year Strategic Action Plan (2020-2025) aimed at providing solutions to hunger, poverty and degradation of natural resources through the protection and management of soil resources.
According to him, the institute strategic plan is in collaboration with partners within and outside the shores of the country.
“I wish to state that NISS is willing to partner with Agribusiness Innovation International within the frame work of our 5-year Strategic Action Plan.’’ (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)