Nigerian House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture has faulted the Federal Government e-wallet policy on fertiliser distribution to farmers and increase on import duty in rice importation, claiming that the effort lacked efficiency and merit it required and could only make little or no meaningful impact on Nigerian farmers.
The legislature maintained still that Federal Government would rather continue to pay lip service to agricultural development and food security in the country as clearly demonstrated in the propose 2013 budget allocation for agriculture.
The House of Representatives allegation also came when the agricultural society of Nigeria was seeking acceleration in the passage of a Bill forward to National Assembly for the recognition of the society as regulatory body in agricultural sector to curb what they called another criminal agricultural body parading itself to dupe members of the society.
A member of the committee Dr. Aminu Mani from Taraba asserted this reaction at the opening of 46th Annual Conference of Agricultural Society of Nigeria holding in Kano.
Dr. Aminu who challenged the ingenuity of e-wallet system, appeared worried that in a typical agrarian setting where 75 per cent of farmers in the country were illiterate and hardly afforded cell phone, the policy was not ripe for the end users, hence the old system of diversion of fertiliser might be difficult to prevent.
“Despite our vest potential in agricultural resources and land for mass production it is sadden to note that Nigeria agricultural production system is still grossly ineffective due to lack of good policy and government failure to check the prevailing challenges in the sector. Already the natural disaster such as flood, death, erosion and other environmental predicament is bedeviling the sector yet successive and present authority are not showing the seriousness to tackle food production in Nigeria. You can see what was presented before the National Assembly as propose budget on agriculture for next year.”
While calling on government at all level to demonstrate more commitment on agric production to empower youth and generate employment, the house member explained that the legislature was putting up efforts to ensure passage of the agricultural regulatory body Bill already scale through first reading in the house of representatives.
President of Agriculture Society of Nigeria, Professor Ayu Abubakar lamented 40 per cent contribution of agriculture to the country’s GDP despite its vast potential and the looming food crisis occasioned by the recent flood in the country.
He disclosed that the theme of the conference, “Agricultural Transformation in a Deregulated Economy: The Role of Financial Institutions” was deliberately chosen to facilitate transformation of agriculture. The president of the society noted collaboration with university and institution of learning to develop affiliation for improve standard in the field of agric education.
On his part Kano State Governor, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso bemoaned Federal Government neglect of agriculture for oil boom, a situation he linked to poor outcome of government effort on agric subsector.