Dr Ernest Umakhihe, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, has said that investment in agribusiness and Agritourism, will strengthen food security in the country.
Umakhihe stated this at the international Agribusiness and Agritourism investment forum on Friday in Abuja.
The permanent secretary was represented by Mr Adebiyi Michael, Director, Agribusiness and Market Development in the ministry.
He said that agritourism enhances the tourism industry by increasing the number of visitors to the area.
“Agritourism also provides communities with the potential to increase their local tax bases and new employment opportunities. Additionally, agritourism provides educational opportunities to the public, helps to preserve agricultural lands, and allows states to develop business enterprises,“he said.
He said that the Federal Government has designed agricultural investment incentives to support high level private sector participation.
“While some of these incentives are in form of tax holiday, exemptions and reliefs, there are some that leverage on specific policies,“he said.
Umakhihe restated the ministry`s commitment in working with relevant stakeholders to build agricultural and agribusiness economy capable of sustaining the country`s economy.
“I have no doubt that this forum will spur agricultural production which will ultimately contribute to growth and transformation in the nation`s economy,“he said.
In a remark, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Sen. George Akume, urged security agencies to come up with strategies to make the initiative a success. He was represented by Mr Okokon Etoabasi, a deputy director in his office.
Also speaking, Mr Masudur Rahman, Bangldesh High Commissioner to Nigeria described the initiative by the government of Nigeria as noble.
“This synergy will help if Nigeria and Bangladesh collaborate and both countries will benefit immensely,“he said.
On the 50 hectares of land given to Bangladesh, he said that his country will ensure that both countries benefits in terms of job creation, rural development and human resource development.
Mr Guy Adoua, Deputy Country Director, World Food Programme, Nigeria (WFP), said that other countries should learn from the Nigeria experience.
“I work for WFP and I think we have something to learn and to share from this experience, `he said.
Adoua said that the programme`s work is to provide food assistance to people in need, adding that most of the items are procured locally in Nigeria.
In a remark, Mr Henry Ogboi, the President World Agritourism Organisation (WAO), said that the organisation had allocated some hectares to government agencies and the government of Bangladesh.
He said that this is to hasten the development of the 200 hectares of Nigerian Agritourism village project situated in Ibadan, Oyo State.
Ogboi said that the project would be centred on farm estate, improved machinery, mechanised farming, industrial hubs among others.
He said that the organisation is partnering with relevant security agencies to ensure that farming activities are carried out without fear of attack.
“The organisation has opened a dual carriage to the entrance site to facilitate development of host communities,“he said.
The high point of the occasion was the declaration of the Agritourism Village Project in Ibadan, Oyo State for investment opportunities by Umakhihe.