President Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday launched the agricultural initiative Nagropreneur at the opening of this year’s Nigerian Economic Summit (NES) 19 targeted at encouraging youths into commercial agriculture.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, disclosed this when the board members and organisers of the summit visited him in his office in Abuja.
According to the minister, the president, by this initiative, “will lay a trajectory for this sector, that is transformative.”
Chairman of the NESG board, Mr. Foluso Philips, who led the delegation, recalled that, early in the year, during the meeting of the Eminent Persons Group with the president, the idea of making agriculture the focus of this year’s summit was conceived. According to him, with NES 19 focusing on agriculture, what was an idea then “has become a major reality.”
Commending the minister for his role in this year’s summit, he explained that, although NESG has a policy commission on agriculture, which is one of the more active policy commissions, the minister had “created an incredible platform for us to move that one further.” He thanked the minister for partnering NESG, saying it was the first time the sector was receiving such a support from the ministry.
Sola David-Borha, managing director of Stanbic IBTC Bank, described agriculture as “a critical sector of the economy,” and called on the minister to encourage other members of the presidential cabinet to participate because their presence “is critical to the success of the summit.” Mr Frank Nweke, director-general of NESG, thanked the minister for his leadership and support for the summit.
Keith Richards, managing director, Promasidor, a dairy product processing company, described his industry as one “that has a close connection with the ministry of agriculture.” He said there was a great opportunity to dialogue, and expressed his enthusiasm about meeting with “young people trying to develop their business in agriculture.”
The minister assured that the federal government was very much in support of agriculture, adding “it is imperative that we diversify the economy.” According to him, “oil is going to go away. There is no doubt that agriculture is the sector that will take Nigeria to the next level, especially when it comes to creating wealth.” He thanked the NESG board for choosing agriculture as the focus of this year’s summit, saying “it shows that the private sector here is strongly supportive of the sector.”
Source: Leadership Newspaper