At the opening of a four-day National Agricultural shows in north central Nasarawa State on Wednesday, the Nigerian leader said the government has initiated various programmes with the aim of boosting food production and ensuring food security for the citizens.
The theme of the show is Repositioning Nigeria’ s Agricultural Economy at Golden Jubilee.
Jonathan said food security has taken a global dimension with varying degrees of severity in different parts of the world, including Nigeria.
According to him, agriculture is placed on the concurrent list so that it would receive adequate attention at all levels of the government.
He said the government has shown commitment toward addressing the current food situation in the country through the introduction of different policies and programmes, such as increased funding, Fadama and National Food Security.
Other initiatives are the promotion of processing and storage of agricultural products to reduce post harvest losses, development of cottage industries and support for on farm processing centers, the president said.
The president told his audience that agriculture has been neglected by the governments in the past because of the risks and uncertainties involved.
He stressed that food production must increase for the country to meet the Millennium Development Goals of eradicating extreme poverty and hunger by 2015.
President Jonathan added that in most Sub-Saharan African countries agriculture accounts for between 25 and 45 percent of the GDP with 70 percent of the population living in rural areas.
He said the situation calls for the revitalisation of the sector to make it the engine of growth and poverty reduction.
The Nigerian leader said research has opened new investment opportunities in agriculture, including the production of bio- fuels.
He commended Nigerians and developing partners for their contributions toward the transformation of agriculture and pledged the government’s continued support for efforts for the sector.