- Stressed the need for Nigeria to increase domestic food production
- Increase would help mitigate household food insecurity – Takayuki
In a bid to address the high spate of food insecurity in Nigeria, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Nigeria Office, on Thursday, donated field inspection kits to the National Agricultural Seeds Council NASC.
The Director General of the Council, Dr. Philip Ojo while receiving the agricultural boost worth N20 million worth from the representative of JICA, Nakagawa Takayuki at the Council’s headquarters in Abuja, stated that the field inspection equipment and outfits will boost the effort of field in ensuring that quality seeds get to farmers, especially in improving the quality of rice seeds.
Mr Nakagawa Takayuki, Chief Representative, JICA Nigeria Office disclosed to newsmen that 37 Global Positioning System (GPS) devices, 85 PVC boots, 85 safety overall and 85 face shields donated, was to support and strengthen the capacity of the council to conduct better field inspection for increased and improved rice seeds production.
He said “On behalf of the government of Japan, I hereby hand over these 37 GPS devices, 85 PVC boots, 85 safety overall, 85 face shields for distribution to NASC seed inspection offices across the country. I hereby also handover 33 sets of paddy quality assessment tools, although the tools are not here today, we expect them to be delivered to the council in early September.”
He expressed confidence that the support would enable the Seeds Council to conduct better field inspection for seed companies to increase and improve their seeds, while also stating that it will also contribute to the increase in rice production so that the risk of food insecurity can be mitigated.’’
While recounting the consequences of COVID-19 accompanied by sharp fall in oil and decline in the value of naira to food security in Nigeria, Takayuki stressed the need for the country to increase domestic food production as an emergency action in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Commending JICA for demonstrating commitment to support Nigeria to be self-sufficient in rice production, Dr Ojo noted that the support would contribute to the council’s efforts in improving quality of rice seeds in the country, while assuring that the materials would be deployed to the field immediately for use.
Ojo also commended JICA for the planned initiative towards establishing Africa Field Innovation Centre for Agricultural Technology (AFICAT) as the development would serve as a base for promoting advance technologies and agricultural mechanisation to enhance agricultural productivity and quality of agricultural products in Nigeria.