Agriculture stakeholders on Wednesday, May 19, 2021 urged the Nasarawa State Government to expedite action on the approval and implementation of its agriculture policy to boost productivity.
They made the call in Lafia at a one-day sensitisation meeting on the draft agricultural policy document developed by the state’s Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources.
The meeting was organised by Young Men Christian Association (YMCA) Mada Hills in collaboration with the state Ministry of Agriculture, and Association of Small Scale Agro Producers in Nigeria (ASSAPIN), with support from Oxford Committee for Famine Relief (OXFAM).
Mr Jonathan Joshua, President of ASSAPIN, said that the government should give urgent attention to the draft document and approve it as its agriculture policy in order to attract more investment to the state.
“We usually get embarrassed in the past when development partners and investors ask for the state policy on agriculture and you don’t have any. People will not invest their money when they don’t know what you intend to do or what policy you have in place.
“Now we have a very beautiful document awaiting final approval. I can go anywhere and proudly say Nassarawa has its agriculture policy.
“So for me, the state government needs to approve it very quickly so that we can forge ahead,” he said.
Also speaking, Mr Ango Adamu, Executive Secretary, YMCA Mada Hills, said the policy once approved would guide stakeholders on how to help small scale farmers perform better in enhancing food production and agribusiness.
“We, the stakeholders in the agriculture sector will be able to see what role can we play once the policy is finally approved.
“We are hopeful that given the effort put in by the ministry over the policy and the commitment of the government in agriculture that very soon it will be out,” he said.
Also, Mrs Vines Adigidzi and Mr Kuje Ogacheng, both farmers from Lafia and Kokona Local Government Areas of the state, commended the organisers of the meeting for exposing them the draft policy document and its benefits to the sector and particularly farmers.
They, therefore, appealed to the state government for the speedy approval of the document considering its immense benefits.
Earlier, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mr Naphtali Dachor, while presenting draft document tagged “New Nassarawa State Policy on Agriculture”, informed participants that the document was awaiting approval from the State Executive Council (SEC) before it becomes the state official policy on agriculture.
Dachor explained that, once approved, the 18 policy options document which is for a period of 10 years (2020-2030) would be mass-produced and made available to stakeholders in the sector.
“Once the document is finally approved, we intend to have a more robust town hall meetings across the the senatorial zones so that people can know the policy exists and know how to use it in order to meet their aspirations,” he said.
He added that, when fully implemented, the policy would help the state to achieve sustenable food security, youth engagement in agriculture, reduction in poverty and improved living standards for farmers.
Some 60 participants including farmers, Directors of Agriculture, supervisory councillors and community leaders from Lafia, Kokona and Akwanga Local Government Areas attended meeting.
By Olukayode Babalola