World Food Day: Stakeholders Call For More Investment In Agriculture | Independent Newspapers Limited
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World Food Day: Stakeholders Call For More Investment In Agriculture

Posted: Oct 17, 2015 at 1:45 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

Stakeholders in the agriculture sector have called on the Federal Government to invest more in the sector for increased food production and direct access to food.

They made the call in separate in Abuja on Friday to mark 2015 World Food Day.

Dr Tunde Arosanyin, the National Technical Adviser, All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), said that most of the world’s poor and hungry people today belonged to rural families who depended on agriculture for their daily livelihood.

“Government needs to invest heavily in agriculture by increasing its budget from the current eight per cent to at least 20 per cent to make food available for rural dwellers.

“Presently, the vacuum created in our agricultural practice as a nation has led to social security challenges all over the country such as the Boko Haram, kidnapping and cattle rustling.”

He added that the challenges needed to be addressed to allow farmers to farm, stating that “you do not expect farmers to be in farm while they are being attacked on a daily basis”.

Arosanyin said that unstable policies were also part of the constraints militating against food security attainment in the country.

He said the way forward was for government to return the salient features of Operation Feed the Nation (OPC) policies of 1977 with river basin authorities.

According to him, Operation Feed the Nation failed because it was not properly articulated. It just followed the political class and disappeared.

He explained that the programme intended to make agriculture a profitable business venture, not only to make the nation food sufficient but also tackle the challenges of youth unemployment.

“The policy also encouraged farmers from all stages of production through extension services and if a farmer doesn’t have a competitive market to sell after producing, the river basins were on ground to buy.

“They bought from farmers at market price which encouraged production to be totally complete and this lead to good harvest.

“If Federal Government buys into these ideas, I am sure agriculture can create job to about 40 million people.

“We have a blueprint on this on ground which we are going to send to the Federal Government once a new minister is on board to review, ” he added.

Arosanyin said that the World Food Day was significant in so many ways to human existence, adding that the UN Charter guaranteed the right of every human to food at all times.

He added that the day was set aside to create awareness on hunger and encourage people to take action in the fight against hunger.

Mr Ajiboye Daniel, AFAN Chairman in Kwara, frowned at the manual system of agriculture in the country which discouraged a lot of youths taking agriculture as business.

Daniel said that food was a foundation of life given by God, and urged government to make it interesting by making hoes and cutlasses a thing of past.

He, therefore, commended the agricultural Transformation Agenda of the last administration such as the e-Wallet System and urged the current administration to do more.

He called for provision of social amenities in the rural areas to control the problem of rural-urban migration to achieve food sufficiency soon.

The theme for this year is, “Social safety and agriculture: Breaking the cycle of poverty in rural areas.”