Agriculture: FG pledges collaboration with Pakistan

Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural development, Mrs. Asabe Asma’u Ahmed has pledged Federal Government’s readiness to collaborate with Pakistan in Agriculture.
Ahmed made the pledge recently when she received on behalf of the minister, the Pakistani Oil Minister, Shahid Khagan Abbasi, who led an 8-man delegation to the country on the Revised Nigeria-Pakistani Commission.
Mrs. Ahmed stated that Nigeria and Pakistan shared so many things in common, including near-similar climatic conditions, landmass, the predominance of agriculture in their economies and demographic characteristics.

Against the background of a large section of the population being employed in small holder agriculture, the Minister suggested that government had a responsibility to make agriculture a major feature of its economic development policy. She further stated that it was in realization of this that the FG embarked on the Agricultural Transformation Agenda in 2011, with a paradigm shift from treating agriculture as social or development programme to a private sector led business model with government assistance to smallholder farmers.

She also said the major strategy for assisting small and medium scale farmers to enhance their capacity and output is called the Growth Enhancement Support scheme(GES), under which registered farmers get 100% government-subsidised high yield agro seeds and fertilizer and other vital inputs at 50% subsidy.

She further observed that being developing countries and emerging markets, the need for countries with such similarities to collaborate has become more compelling in an increasingly globalizing world.

Earlier in his address the leader of the delegation and Pakistani Oil Minister, Shahid Khagan Abbasi, stated that their mission in Nigeria was part of measure to give fillip to the revised Nigeria-Pakistani Commission established in 1990 which has remained largely moribund except for just one meeting.

He stated that his country has taken deliberate measures to develop its capacities with the goal of addressing development issues and achieving global competitiveness. He said in the process, Pakistan has achieved 100% self-sufficiency and surpluses in the production of sugar, wheat, rice, poultry and poultry products as well as fertilizer.

He also said, the country’s drive to attain these goal was complemented by its achievement in 100% local production of agriculture machinery and tools, some of which are exported. Pakistan, he maintained, is a global leader in production and export of world class textiles, including cotton and yarn.

He disclosed further that his country has a slightly different policy in government support for agriculture, he stressing that while market forces control agricultural production, government subvents public water supply and irrigated water to farms and gives some level of guaranteed minimum price on commodities through acquisition of surpluses stored in strategic reserves as well as domestic gas use.

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