FARA urges Federal Government to Subsidise Agriculture for Food Security

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… Urges FG to review land tenure act, revive NALDA

From: Babatunde Azeez, Abuja

Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) has said agriculture in Nigeria needs to be subsidized for food security to be achieved.

Lead specialist of FARA Prof. Oluwole Fatumbi disclosed this during the closing ceremony of a 4 days training held in Abuja.

Prof. Fatumbi explained that the subsidization must be strategic to give general incentives that will provide enabling environment for farmers to achieve optimum production.

The expert who acknowledged efforts of the present administration urged them to channel their efforts to the right direction to ensure that agriculture delivers for the larger population

His words: “Agriculture should be subsided, but strategic subsidization at the point of providing general incentives that gives enabling environment for farmers to achieve optimum production.

“Hundred years ago they were where we are now, but today only 2 per cent of Americans are farmers on the farm while 13 per cent are in value chain development, processing and financing which brings growth and reduction in price of commodity.

“I am not against the government efforts, they are trying, but they need to channel the efforts and energy in the right direction to ensure that agriculture delivers for the larger population.”

Prof. Fatumbi further explained that the training is aimed at exposing youths and women to new innovations that will make likelihood profitable for farming enterprises by engaging them on best practices in various agricultural value-chain.

He urged youths to send in concept notes for evaluation for them to establish more innovative platform and practicalise it and get certified as agricultural extension workers and resource person.

According to him, impact of the project will be felt in the first quarter of 2019 for the first set of trained participants who are expected to in turn train 60-70 people after wards.

In regards to the problem surrounding access to land, he stressed the need for Federal Government to review the 1979 land tenure act, there by taking lands from land owner, who in heritage lands from their parents and have no use for them and release them to prospective farmers who will pay modest rent for land use.

He advised that FG remodel and review the NALDA principle and badly implemented, which was politicized in the past, leading to the closure of the agency.

According to him: “This innovation platform concept is the most important that can help and make livelihood compliant for profit making for farming enterprises and it will be better to hand this over to the next generation. When they have the knowledge they can engage with other youths and get them established in different innovative platform.

“Ypard is fully represented here and a few other youths in Agriculture group, and they have been trained and we expect them to also train others and we will consistently give them incentives to establish this innovative platforms and operationalize it.” He added.

A retired Professor of Agricultural Extension from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Prof. Tunji Arokoyo attributed woes in the sector to lack of leadership and commitment.

He berated the so much fun fair and media hype attached to agricultural programs with little or no actual investment in the sector.

He lamented low commitment of the government to the 2003 Maputo agreement and 2014 reconfirmation in Malabo that compelled member states to set aside 10 per cent of yearly budgets to agriculture.

ARCN Chief Agricultural Research Officer, Mrs. Alice Fabiyi urged researchers to engage more in demand driven researches and avoid the idea of research for promotion sake.

Mrs. Fabiyi, who noted that extension services and researches are expensive, urged government and other stakeholders to drive the demand for researches so that they can be adequately funded.

Eric Nyikwagh, the Country Representative of Ypard urged youths to take advantage of the opportunities available in the different agriculture value chain.

He advised young people to start small and upscale as they grow, while seeing agriculture as business.

 

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