A don, Prof. Adesina Raji, has called for pragmatic agricultural policy reform that would meet national output target in the agricultural sector.
Raji made the call on Wednesday, March 30, 2022, at the 2nd Inaugural Lecture of Al-Hikmah University, Ilorin, entitled “Unveiling Nigeria’s Dysfunctional Goldmine: A Chronicle of the Neglected Agricultural Potentials in an Emerging Economy”.
The don, who is of the Department of History and International Studies, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Al-Hikmah University, explained that such a reform policy would bring about the much-needed turnaround in Nigeria’s agricultural sector.
According to him, Nigeria must take concrete steps towards revitalising agriculture, as there are diverse opportunities that abound within the agriculture industry’s value-chain.
He said such hidden opportunities had waited untapped for too long.
He warned that to further delay the process of tapping into these opportunities would only erode Nigeria’s quest to attaining economic growth and national development.
He explained that any policy reform that would change the face of Nigeria needed consistency, proper planning and implementation.
He stressed the need for total overhauling of current but moribund policies and the adoption of a robust, realistic and credible alternative national policy framework that would transform agriculture into an attractive, flourishing and lucrative enterprise.
He added that under the policy, genuine farmers must have access to capital and credit facilities to enable them raise output.
“There is also need for adequate budgetary provisions and prompt release of such fund, to promote research and development in agriculture at all levels of governance.
He suggested the establishment of Agriculture Trust Fund to support research, innovation and proven breakthroughs in various agricultural institutes as well as public and private universities that focus on agriculture.
“The 2021 Agricultural Support Fund Bill at the National Assembly is a good initiative and in tune with this point,” he added.
The lecturer also recommended improvement and expansion of agricultural land holdings to enhance increased access to critical factors of production.
He said Nigerians must embrace what he called “hydroponic farming”, to raise farmers output and reduce over-dependence on large acres of farmlands for crop production, especially in the light of the surging and frightening pace of national insecurity.
He stressed the need to boost farmers’ productive capacity with the use of improved farming techniques like tractors for clearing, cultivation and planting, that would ensure a complete departure from the use of hoes, cutlass and other obsolete farm tools.
He said the use of modern and functional irrigation system would also ensure optimal utilisation of the country’s water resource potentials for all-year-round crop production
The don added that the adoption of an advanced fishing farm technology would make Nigeria become Africa’s leading exporter of fish products.
By Afusat Agunbiade-Oladipo