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‘Green Alternative To Build On Success Of Sasakawa-Global Programme’

Private Sector, Sasakawa-Global, ogbeh;
Posted: Sep 1, 2016 at 2:11 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

The Federal Government of Nigeria is looking at how to make the best of successes achieved in agriculture through the Sasakawa-Global 2000 (SG2000) programme.

The programme, which commenced in Nigeria in March 1992 following the signing of a partnership agreement with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources (FMARNR) to work with federal and state agencies with the objective to raise agricultural productivity and improve food crop marketing in the country, may have provided a perfect template on which the recently launched roadmap for agricultural development in Nigeria tagged Green Alternative to ride on.

Nigeria’s Minister Of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), Chief Audu Ogbeh, who is optimistic that this could work, used this as the reference point in a presentation he made on August 27 at the SAA Side event at the Tokyo International Conference For African Development (Ticad 6), held in Nairobi, Kenya.

Speaking on the occasion, Ogbeh listed numerous lessons from the programme that the ministry would take seriously.

He said, “One of the key lessons of the Sasakawa-Global 2000 (SG2000) programme is that the small holder farmer is still an important player in increasing agricultural productivity in Nigeria.”

Continuing, he said: “It underscores the fact that with both proper organisation and the right support system, the small holder farmer can be significantly enabled to maximise his or her output  towards the accomplishment of our national strategic objectives of ensuring self-sufficiency in our local staples and food security for the ever increasing national population, as well as  ensuring the phenomenal growth of agro-exports for increased foreign exchange earnings.”

The second lesson, according to the minister underscores the reality that agricultural activity and programmes are best designed and executed along several boundaries of authorities with well-defined roles and responsibilities.

In this regard, Ogbeh said: “This is especially important in Nigeria bearing in mind that we operate a federal system of government where the control of land is within the purview of state governments, and where the farmers are predominantly located.  Any successful agricultural programme, therefore, must take cognizance of this governance reality if it is to be both sustainable and impactful.”

Notwithstanding the success of the SC2000 programme, the minister said there is a need for scale-up.

“I am aware that, presently, there may be severe constraints in widening the scope of the programme on the part of all the multi-stakeholders participating in the scheme. But, my humble opinion is that we can collectively look into the possibilities and explore all options towards scaling up the programme without necessarily incurring unbearable costs,” Ogbeh stated.

He highlighted the need to revive the country’s extension service system, capacity building, and the need to encourage big players in the agriculture industry to bring innovation, quality assurance, entrepreneurship, modern technology, finance, global good practices and expanded markets.

This, according to him would radically improve the fortunes of the sector so that it can attract multiple players to drive it as a profitable business.

He said, “The Green Alternative Roadmap Agriculture Promotion Policy has ingrained the lessons of the Sasakawa Programme in many significant ways. It is, first and foremost, a national strategy and an action plan that recognises the need to harness the strengths and resources of all the multi-stakeholders in the agricultural and rural development sector towards effectively rebuilding and reinvigorating the sector as part of a comprehensive plan of achieving the diversification of the national economy from an oil dependent led growth.”

The interventions of SG2000 have resulted in a widespread adoption of improved crop production technologies by over 500,000 small holder farmers in Adamawa, Kano, Gombe and Jigawa States.