From subsistence to markets in Yobe State: FAO and partners brainstorming to enhance agricultural production
For agriculture to become more sustainable and productive in Africa, governments at all levels must be at the centre of agricultural programmes. These were the words of FAO Representative in Nigeria, Suffyan Koroma at the opening of a retreat organized by the Yobe State government to design a blueprint for enhancing agricultural production in the state.
Yobe in northeastern Nigeria is principally an agrarian state with potential to produce crops such as sesame and gum arabic on large scales. The State is also home to one of the biggest cattle stock in the country. However, crude agricultural practices and poor knowledge of good agricultural practices among small-scale farmers, worsened by a regional armed conflict, are major challenges preventing the state from achieving optimal production.
According to the State Governor, Honourable Mai Mala Buni, Yobe can reach full economic potential if its agricultural strengths are properly harnessed. He indicated that the objective of the retreat is to bring stakeholders together to design a roadmap for translating agricultural production in the State from subsistence to a market-oriented venture.
As the State recovers from the impact of the conflict, establishing a viable agro-economy is crucial to transferring its populations from aid-dependence to self-sustenance. The governor highlighted that the support of development partners like FAO is crucial to realizing this goal.
FAO Representative also reiterated FAO’s support to the recovery efforts in the state which is in its fourth consecutive year. He highlighted the need to provide vulnerable smallholders with inputs and capacity building to produce their own food, making them less dependent on humanitarian assistance. “Through improved knowledge on best agricultural practices, small-scale farmers will be better equipped to derive optimal returns from their farms and become key contributors to market systems”, Koroma said.
FAO is participating in the four-day retreat alongside government agencies and other development partners. The retreat will produce an actionable plan for overhauling agriculture for sustainable economic growth in Yobe. On the sidelines of the event, the FAO Representative met with the Chairman, Presidential Fertilizer initiative, Governor Mohammed Baduru Abubakar of Jigawa State and the Chairman, Presidential Task Force Committee on Rice and Wheat Production, Governor Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State.