Stakeholders Urge FG To Modify Reforms, Sustain ATA
• Don Calls For More Admissions Into Agriculture
IN the assessment of stakeholders, the capacity of the reforms introduced in the agricultural space by the former Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina to truly boost food production, is not in doubt.
To that end, therefore, they urged President Buhari to continue with the Agricultural Transformation Agenda with modifications and improvements, where necessary.
That is the summation of views put out by stakeholders at a one-day town hall meeting organised by AgroNigeria media organisation at the University of Ibadan. Apparently in a show of confidence in the performance of the former Minister of Agriculture and in reaction to the recent critical comments by Gov. Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State, many stakeholders say the Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) design is worth being retained by the present administration.
A statement at the end of the town hall meeting demanded that ‘policy formulations in agriculture should adopt bottom-up and end-user-driven intervention approaches.
It also stated that risk management and insurance policies should be tailored for the advantage of Nigerian farmers in order to make the sector competitive and attractive to investors.
Others include that the “Farm Settlement Scheme should be resuscitated, strengthened and better positioned to address the 21 century needs of agriculture; attitudinal orientation should be encouraged and institutionalised by all stakeholders, as this will address the negative impressions of the youths in going to agriculture.”
Advising the President Buhari-led administration, Kayode Ehindero, CEO, Agric House, said policy summersaults in agriculture should be avoided, while fine-tuning and sustaining the good agricultural policies and frameworks put in place by former President Jonathan-led government.
He wondered why Gov. Oshiomhole chose to criticise anything about the former President, adding that the past administration did well in agriculture, especially the Growth Enhancement Scheme (GES).
To prevent frequent clashes between herdsmen and crop producers, Ehindero advocated that nomadic herdsmen should be incorporated as integral part of the policy and frameworks to be put in place by the new administration for a food secure nation.
Aquatech’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr. George Sheghona, said challenges faced by farmers include finance, management and marketing, saying farmers should be able to show financiers their financial outlay.
He counseled that farmers should be faithful in the implementation of financial proposal to engender trust in the industry. He also advocated that youths should be attracted into agriculture by making training in management, land and farm tools available at subsidised prices.
Professor Rasheed Awodoyin, Department of Crop Protection and Environmental Biology, University of Ibadan said, “public universities in Nigeria are overwhelmed with lopsided admission applications, with over 70 per cent applying to study popular programmes like Medicine, Law, Accounting, Economics, among others, while Agriculture and allied disciplines are usually not applied for.”
This, he said, accounts for giving candidates courses they do not apply to study, including agriculture, urging agricultural and other graduates to develop interest in agribusiness as their contribution to the solution to reduce unemployment, poverty and associated vices.
Representative of the Oyo State Agricultural Development Programme (OYSADEP), Mr. Akinola Dauda, said although youths should be incorporated into schemes of things in agriculture, most of them entrusted with facilities are not usually faithful based on experience.