Agriculture: Link be­tween tiers of gov­ern­ment is weak – Adamu

Sen­a­tor Ab­dul­lahi Adamu chairs the Se­nate Com­mit­tee on Agriculture at the Na­tional As­sem­bly. The for­mer, who was the gover­nor of Nasarawa State (1999-2007) re­cently cel­e­brated his 70th Birth­day. In this in­ter­view with Daily Trust, he bares his mind on the

Daily Trust - - GOLDEN HARVEST - By Sa­fina Buhari Sen­a­tor Ab­dul­lahi Adamu

Given the Nige­ria’s com­mit­ment to di­ver­sify into agriculture, what ini­tia­tives do you rec­om­mend for the dif­fer­ent tiers of gov­ern­ment?

We have ex­clu­sive leg­isla­tive list and con­cur­rent leg­isla­tive list and be­cause agriculture is on the con­cur­rent list, who is re­spon­si­ble for what, is not clearly de­fined.

The fed­eral gov­ern­ment has the money and ex­per­tise which state gov­ern­ments don’t have and it knows which line it wants to drive agriculture. The fed­eral gov­ern­ment also knows what road map it sets for agriculture and ex­pects the states to key into. Now the link­ages to make this hap­pen are ex­tremely weak and so you have poli­cies that are not driven to the grass­roots prop­erly; the states are not key­ing in prop­erly and no­body says to them you must do this.

Some­times, to move a coun­try for­ward you need to tighten the screws, you can’t avoid that. I be­lieve that this weak link in get­ting the mes­sage of pol­icy guide­lines for the coun­try on any as­pect of agri­cul­tural pro­duc­tion must be strength­ened so that we can have tar­gets.

It is one thing to have a tar­get and it’s an­other to achieve the tar­get, like which part of Nige­ria is good for yam? Go there, how much land do you have? How do you get the peo­ple there to pro­duce the quan­tity of yam you re­quire? Press all the gears nec­es­sary to make that pro­duc­tion pos­si­ble to the lev­els that are de­signed in the na­tional pol­icy. Un­less we do this, agriculture can­not get where we want it to go to and the fed­eral gov­ern­ment must be on the driv­ing wheel for this to hap­pen.

Nige­ria is among the sig­na­to­ries of the Maputo Dec­la­ra­tion, seek­ing in­creased bud­getary al­lo­ca­tion to the agri­cul­tural sec­tor. Lamentably, this com­mit­ment is yet to be met. What is your re­ac­tion to this?

The poli­cies are there but the al­lo­ca­tions are not enough. Nige­ria com­mit­ted it­self to pro­vid­ing not less than 10% of ev­ery an­nual bud­get to part­ners and aca­demics were all there agriculture and that is not the case and we rubbed mind and came up with now. Our pro­vi­sion now is not up to 1%. what in our view should be road map. The best we did was dur­ing Obasanjo The Fed­eral Min­istry of Agriculture and or Yar’adua’s ad­min­is­tra­tion that we Ru­ral De­vel­op­ment took it, or­gan­ised rose from about 2.7 to about 3%. But their own, the Na­tional Coun­cil on gov­ern­ment now gives some logic as Agriculture in Kano worked on what they it has pro­vided, within the bud­get, had and what re­sults we had from the ac­tiv­i­ties of im­prov­ing in­fras­truc­ture work­shop of the Na­tional Agri­cul­tural that will rub off on agri­cul­tural Foun­da­tion of Nige­ria, the min­is­ter and pro­duc­tion. For in­stance if you do ru­ral all the prin­ci­pal of­fi­cers of the min­istry roads, it will help agriculture grow and were there and they par­tic­i­pated in ad­di­tion to this, value ad­di­tion, ru­ral ex­ten­sively. The World Bank, Food and elec­tri­fi­ca­tion, and wa­ter sup­ply for dry Agriculture Or­gan­i­sa­tion of the United sea­son ir­ri­ga­tion farm­ing. Na­tion, IFAD were also there.

Th­ese pro­vi­sions that are made in the The min­is­ter of Agriculture or­gan­ised bud­get if prop­erly fol­lowed, will rub off an­other stake­hold­ers’ work­shop to pos­i­tively on agri­cul­tural pro­duc­tion. stream­line the ideas and sharpen the edges that were iden­ti­fied to move us for­ward and came up with the road map - a pol­icy that will go for an­other 10 years.

The Fed­eral Ex­ec­u­tive Coun­cil re­cently ap­proved the road map for agriculture from 2016 to 2020 called Green Al­ter­na­tive and your foun­da­tion has been sup­port­ing the min­istry. What is your re­ac­tion on this?

I am glad that for once, the fed­eral gov­ern­ment has got­ten prac­ti­tion­ers in agriculture in­volved in de­vel­op­ing a na­tional pol­icy for agriculture. I am also grate­ful to the Almighty that the Na­tional Agri­cul­tural Foun­da­tion of Nige­ria (NAFN) was one of the non­govern­men­tal or­gan­i­sa­tions’ stake­holder in this coun­try that or­gan­ised a na­tional work­shop in which small-scale, medi­um­scale and large scale farm­ers, pro­ces­sors, con­sumers, ex­porters, de­vel­op­ment

What has the Na­tional Agri­cul­tural Foun­da­tion of Nige­ria (NAFN) achieved so far?

We have or­gan­ised agriculture show for eight years, this is the 9th year. The show is about the exhibition of agri­cul­tural pro­duce. Ev­ery­thing called agriculture - from live­stock, poul­try, aqua­cul­ture, ce­re­als and tu­bers to legumes. Then, we also have pro­ces­sors, an area where we are still de­vel­op­ing, ex­porters and con­sumers.

We also have sem­i­nars, each time we or­gan­ise the show for stake­hold­ers in the sec­tor.

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