Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS) says the country needs a minimum of N250 billion over the next five years to scale up its plant health infrastructure.
The Director-General of NAQS, Dr. Vincent Isegbe, said this on Wednesday in Abuja during the launch of activities leading to the International Year of Plant Health (IYPH 2020).
The United Nations General Assembly adopted the resolution to proclaim 2020 as the International Year of Plant Health last year December.
He said the country need annual investment of N50 billion for the next five years on plant health, adding that the call for investment in plant health in Nigeria should be taken seriously.
According to him, investment in plant health will be an investment in social security, as it will enable the country to combat hunger, malnutrition and poverty.
“Plant pests damage 40% of global food production and plant diseases destroy 10% of world food. In other words, the combined effect of plant pests and diseases cuts global crop yield by half. The implication of this significant reduction in food production is that less food is available to meet the dietary needs of millions of human beings.
“The declared International Year of Plant Health will help increase awareness among policy makers and the public about the importance of plant health and the need to protect plant resources for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Isegbe said with healthy plants, there will be food for all; everyone will be adequately nourished; the income and quality of life of farming households will rise; and more people will find employment in spin-off activities across the value chain.
He however said the Service is planning series of activities before next year to create awareness and bring policy makers, stakeholders, and the media to explore ways to raise advocacy and support the plant health policies at all levels in Nigeria.