Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, has promised to support the Nigerian Veterinary Research Institute, Vom with the sum of N53.8 million. He disclosed this during his visit to the institute recently.
By this support the institute will commence full-scale operation in its world-class laboratory facility now nearing completion.
Dr. Tony Joanis, while conducting the Minister round the facility awaiting completion, disclosed that the laboratory, on completion, will serve as a regional facility for the diagnosis of avian influenza and other trans-boundary animal diseases for 23 West and Central African countries.
He added that in the laboratory complex, a C$2.365m facility facility was donated by the Canadian government.
The Minister expressed gratitude to the Canadian government for the support and promised to help the laboratory with the outstanding N53.8 million needed to complete the installation.
With the support, the facility which came through an agreement between the Canadian government and federal government is expected to become functional at the end of March, 2014. The minister then canvassed a private sector delivery system for vaccines made from the instituteâ€™s laboratory.
Dr. Adesina observed that â€œsupporting our research scientists is very important,â€ adding that the share of agriculture in national budget has experienced growth from 8 per cent in 2012 to 23 per cent now.
While receiving the Minister, the Plateau State Governor David Jang, announced the decision to privatise ASTC, an agricultural enterprise that was formed in partnership between the state government and an Israeli company, which has contributed tremendously to agricultural productivity in the state. â€œWe are looking for consultants to enable this,â€ the governor said.
Governor Jang told the Minister that Plateau State was once notable for horticulture products, saying a lot of vegetables were produced in Plateau State. He pointed out that the rose from Plateau State was selling in Europe as â€˜Jos Rose,â€™ brand, but that business enterprise collapsed for lack of government support.
Jang showed a documentary with the statistics that showed that, under the federal governmentâ€™s Growth Enhancement Support in 2012 in Plateau State, 125,133 farmers were registered and 57,252 redeemed their inputs, while in 2013, 490,000 were registered, but 419,520 redeemed their inputs.
The governor said he made agriculture a priority when he assumed office in 2007 and disclosed his desire to develop a potato value chain in Plateau State. He said a lot of vegetables is grown in the state and requested for support from the federal government in boosting agriculture in the state.
Dr. Adesina responded, saying â€œthat those who make money in agriculture are those who add value.â€ He said, given the immense potential for fresh produce in Plateau State, he was ready to work with the president to have a Staple Crop Processing Zone established for the state.