The Federal Government held the maiden Agricultural Joint Sector Review in compliance with the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP) endorsed by African head of states through the AU New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD).
Nigeria and other African signatories of CAADP are bound to eliminate mounting poverty by increasing public spending and fast-tracking growth in the agricultural sector.
The stakeholders, including the Ministry of Agriculture, state commissioners of agriculture, programme managers, agricultural development representatives of the private sector, farmer based organisations and donor agencies, converged in Abuja for the review.
The Nigerian government signed the CAADP declaration in 2009 and drafted the National Agricultural Investment Plan and the Agricultural Transfer Agenda in 2011.
To implement the CAADP, AU leaders made a commitment in 2014’to develop the sector by ensuring at least 10 percent public spending target, six per cent sectorial growth rate, zero hunger, 10 per cent stunting reduction, 30 per cent youth engagement in agricultural value chains and 30 per cent farm/ pastoral households agricultural livelihood.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, said government recently articulated 10 key priority projects that would lead to increase in productivity and improve access to the export markets in a sustainable manner.
He said the projects would be implemented in tune with the Medium Term Sector Strategy (MTSS) for the 2017-2020 periods.
According to him, the commitment of government towards agricultural reforms for better results, led to the recapitalisation of the Bank of Agriculture (BOA), provision of sulphate to fertilizer blending plants and reduction of rice importation from 500,000mt on 2015 to 58,000mt in 2016.
“It is hoped that the outcome of the review would put in place more measures to unlock the full potential of Nigeria’s agricultural sector in line with CAAPD framework, the Green Alternative Policy and Economic Recovery Growth Plan (ERGP) 2017-2020,” Ogbeh said.
The Adamawa State Commissioner for Agriculture, Waziri Haruna Ahmadu, said after the review, the state would align its agricultural policy with the federal government.
He added that the state would also share the review recommendations with other states of the federation.
Another stakeholder, Dr George Mavrotas, of the International Food Policy Research Institute, described the agricultural review as a golden opportunity for Nigeria to embrace the neglected sectors, given the fall in oil prices and the challenge to feed its rising population.
The programme leader in charge of Nigeria Strategy Support said that adopting the right strategy is essential towards capacity building.
Source: This Day Newspapers