By Paul Adaji (ABUJA)
The Embassy of Japan in Nigeria and Sasakawa Africa Association (formerly SG2000) have reiterated their commitment to strengthen joint efforts to help Nigeria transform the agricultural sector.
The two institutions made the assurance during a courtesy visit by the Country Director of SAA, Dr. Godwin Atser to the Embassy in Abuja on Wednesday.
The renewed commitment is aimed at tapping Japanese technologies including information and communication technologies (ICTs) for the improvement of farming systems in Nigeria.
While receiving the Country Director, Ambassador Kazuyoshi Matsunaga appreciated the significant role played by SAA in Africa in general, and Nigeria inclusive.
The meeting was strategic as Nigeria is putting more emphasis on agriculture to lift her population out of poverty and create jobs and wealth.
Dr. Atser said agriculture holds a lot of potential, but the potential is yet to be fully harnessed.
For instance, most improved technologies are yet to get to farmers because of a weak public extension architecture.
He noted that while SAA had done a lot in revamping the public extension system, more needs to be done, which underscored the need for more partnerships.
He explained that to tackle the myriad problems confronting agriculture, SAA under the leadership of President Makoto Kitanaka rejigged the strategy of the organization with a focus on Regenerative Agriculture, Nutrition Sensitive Agriculture, Market Oriented Agriculture, and other crosscutting pillars including capacity building, e-extension and inclusion (youth, women and people living with disabilities).
“Through this strategy, SAA approach has become holistic and is responding to the new and emerging challenges including climate change and pests and diseases facing farmers in Africa, ” he added.
The Ambassador promised to support SAA activities in Nigeria, adding that the Internet penetration in Nigeria was an asset to be harnessed for agricultural development.
The Ambassador noted that technologies in terms of agriculture mechanization could reduce drudgery, boost productivity, and improve the efficiency of farmers in Nigeria.
He reiterated that there was a need for the private sector in Nigeria to work with Japanese companies and create the needed movement of technologies to both countries.