The Ministry of Budget and National Planning on Monday reiterated the critical roles of agriculture in national development and urged Nigerians do commit more efforts to its practice to guarantee food security and the sector’s improved contribution to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The Director of Economic Growth in the ministry, Mr Sam Eloho, gave the charge at a stakeholders’ consultative forum organized by the ministry in collaboration with ActionAid Nigeria (AAN) and Oxfam in Lagos.

Specifically, he explained that the meeting was convened to facilitate conversation among stakeholders in the agricultural sector to further explore its potential for national development and to also examine the adequacy of National Agricultural Investment Plan 2 (NAIP 2) in meeting national objectives contained in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).

He described the forum as another landmark in the ministry’s efforts to ensure food availability and security for all Nigerians.

Eloho said that the recommendations from the meeting would contribute in the 2019 budget proposals toward boosting agriculture in Nigeria, noting that the collaboration with AAN and Oxfam will support government’s priority programmes in the sector.

He explained: “This platform will facilitate more inputs into the 2019 agriculture budget by creating ownership, linking and integrating programme that will help Nigeria achieve food security and the attainment of the ERGP.

“Government’s objective in this regards is to ensure that we grow what we eat and to ensure that no Nigerian goes to bed hungry. It is also to ensure optimal nutritional status and increased value added agricultural export.

“The target is to make agriculture a commercial activity through science, technology and innovation”, Eloho added.