I ll Accord Top Priority on Agric Research Institutions -Minister

By Abubakar Mohammed, Zaria

Minister of Agriculture,Alhaji Muhammad Sabo Nanono has pledged to accord top priority on research institutions during his tenure as minister to enhance maximum productivity.

He said the ministry will prioritise funding above construction of structures for national economic growth.

The Minister disclosed this in an interview with Journalists during a one-day working visit to National Animal Production Research Institute (NAPRI), Shika, Zaria, Kaduna State.

Sabo-Nanono said: "The focus of the ministry will be on the research institutes by giving more funding to research than constructing structures."

Speaking on the activities of NAPRI, the Minister appreciated the institute for prudent management of resources, saying, "I think you have done very well considering the scarce resources.

"You have managed this scarce resources very well and I believe if you can keep it up, you will improve upon you performances."

On issue of "Ruga Settlement", the Minister said the overall thing was being re-looked at with a view to transforming the entire system.

"You have to understand that some states have already cue-in into the Ruga Settlement Prgramme, some thought is a Fulani word, is not a Fulani word but is a rural grazing area created by the colonialists.

"But people are just using it for whatever they think they will use it for, but the issue is this, we have focused on this issue of grazing, there is no going back,' he assured.

On his part, the Executive Director, NAPRI, Prof. Clearance Lakpini appreciated the Minister for the visit and his concern for the growth of animal production in particular and agricultural sector in general.

He assured that the institute had planned series of institutional future plan to include; staff training and retraining for capacity development as well as upgrade and update of laboratories.

Others according to him, are infrastructural development and development of NAPRI Integrated Model Farm of over 600 hectares of land.

Lakpini added that the institute is liaising with the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment to be able to get investors who would come and invest into intensive production of livestocks, dairy, beef, small ruminants, poultry and pasture.

The director said the institute was determined to produce all-year-round pasture seeds using its dam to meet the demands of stakeholders.

He appealed to the ministry under the leadership of the new minister for completion of NAPRI dam and connecting the institute to 33 KVA electric power line.

Lakpini also pleaded for adequate and proper releases of appropriated budget and completion of irrigation scheme among others.