The Deputy Director, Agriculture for Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Tom Kehoe said the Foundation’s investment is backing efforts to develop disease-resistant crop varieties.
Crop diseases have been a major set back for Nigerian farmers especially. Yields are low and farmers lose their investments because diseases and pests damage their crops on the field.
Although efforts were been made by Nigerian scientists to develop crops that would be resistant to diseases and pests, the situation is yet to be addressed.
Tom Kehoe while meeting with Nigeria’s Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Mohammed Sabo Nanono, said the Foundation views its investment in agriculture from the climate change angle, and how it affects farmers.
“Our investment is backing efforts to develop disease-resistant varieties that are more nutritious and can be easily processed to meet demands for cassava’s many commercial uses, which range from making bread and beer to bio gradable packing’’.
He noted that “we are increasingly viewing our agriculture investment through the lens of climate change and its impact on smallholder farmers. A key goal is to support innovations that can help farmers adapt”, Kehoe said.
In his remarks, the Minister of Agriculture, Alhaji Nanono said that Agricultural Research is very critical towards growing the Sector and achieving food security in Nigeria.
The Minister noted that the outcome of the researches would improve the issue of seedling that will be suitable to our environment and also boost the growth of food products in Nigeria.
He further said that research would improve agricultural chain geared towards increasing Internally Generated Revenue and create wealth, which is one of the key components of the present administration.
Nanono further stressed that research would encourage standardisation of Agricultural Products in Nigeria and also develop Capacity Building that would sustain the larger population.