The Executive Director of Nigerian Export Promotion Council, NEPC, Dr. Ezra Yakusak, said Nigerian agricultural sector currently employs about 70 per cent of the country’s labour force making it the important sector in the economy.
Yakusak who was represented by the Head, Makurdi Export Office, Ben Anani, the Executive Director stated this at a two day capacity building programme on adopting Good Agricultural Practices, GAP, for Tiv Women Agricultural Cooperative Society held at the Tiv Traditional Council Hall, Gboko, Gboko Local Government Area of Benue state.
Yakusak said with over 25.13 per cent contribution to the GDP, the sector is critical to Nigeria’s economy “in terms of both innovative outcomes and job creation, much of which is credited to the Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, SMEs, ability to export their products.”
He also observed that the sector was still one of the least performing sectors in terms of growth with the growth performance as at the end of 2019 put at 2.12 per cent.
In addition, he said to boost the sector, the NEPC will continue to support small holder farmers, and processors of key export commodities with necessary interventions in areas of capacity building, lending support with agro farm inputs, support to acquire vital product quality certification, grants and more to improve on their productivity.
Yakusak noted that the training in GAP for Tiv Women Agricultural Cooperative Society, an initiative of the wife of the Tiv Paramount Ruler, Her Majesty, Prof. Felicia Ayatse was a laudable programme targeted at promoting organic agriculture for four crop value chains including, ginger, cassava, sesame seed and soybeans.
“The selected value-chains are commodities which Benue state has comparative advantage in production and is among the leading producing states in Nigeria.”
According to, Prof. Ayatse who commended the NEPC for registering the over 1,000 member cooperative society and also availing the members the training said the programme was crucial to achieving the objectives of the cooperative.
“The meeting is very crucial and important, every member is taking the programme seriously. And I can assure that the training is not going to be in vain. We have all made up our minds as a cooperative to practice what we learn and make use of organic input in our farms this year,” she said.
However, stating that the training is open, the Commissioner for Trade and Investment, Mr. Benjamin Agber said the Ministry would support the initiative “because it will create employment and income for families, the state and the country at large.”
Ayatse by the Benue State Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Dr. Kester Kyenge declared the programme open, the handover of organic farm inputs and knapsack sprayers from the NEPC, for the cooperative.
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