The Federal Government has established an agricultural marketing information centre and equipped officials to gather agricultural data in the 36 states and the FCT to facilitate investments and produce exports.
Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Bukar Hassan, said in Abuja on Monday that the move was to provide a one-stop database on the agricultural market environment to aid potential investors.
Mr Hassan, who spoke at a workshop on the Operationalisation of Agricultural Market Information Centre, said that the centre would facilitate the implementation of the Agricultural Promotion Policy of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
“It has become imperative to promote agricultural market information to aid investment, production, processing, marketing and exportation of agricultural produce.
“It is apparent that investors, marketers and exporters of agricultural produce will need a more reliable single-point contact to facilitate access to tailored agricultural market information support services.
“If you look at other sectors like oil today, you can be in New York and get information on geological data in another continent. We want agriculture in Nigeria to be like that.
“We want people to sit down in the comfort of their houses somewhere in other continents and access what Nigeria has, in terms of crops that can be exported.
“At least, we want to cover all the value chains so that whatever crop we have, we hope that with time, we will be able to export them to earn foreign exchange,’’ he said.
Ono his part, Director, Agribusiness and Marketing Development in the ministry, Daniel Udoh, said that the workshop was organised to equip the participants with the skills that would enable them to collect, collate and disseminate relevant agricultural information.
According to him, information on agricultural commodity prices will be transmitted via the centre’s web-based platform to all necessary stakeholders.
“The government recognises the importance of relevant and timely information to the growth of the agricultural sector so as to achieve the diversification of the national economy into a multi-faceted economy.
“There has never been a comprehensive platform where all relevant stakeholders in agriculture will access information, hence the establishment of the centre to bridge the gap,’’ Mr Udoh said.
Some of the participants, who spoke at the workshop, said that the centre would facilitate efforts to link farmers with crop processors.
The ministry distributed a laptop to each of the data gathering officers from the 36 states and FCT to aid information gathering and dissemination to the centre.