The Minister for Agriculture during an agricultural stakeholders summit in Abuja have recently been charged to develop more home grown solutions in dealing with Nigeria’s agricultural challenges especially while working with development partners. This was the position of the Bauchi state government represented by the State’s Deputy Governor who claimed that he is not too impressed with the role of development partners in the industry so far. Even as the blame game over Nigeria’s challenges in the agricultural sector found its way at the front burner of ongoing discourse at the National Farmers Empowerment Summit held in Abuja, different stakeholders have attributed Nigeria’s woes in the sector to the lack of domestication of agricultural policies and programmes being adopted by development partners. But the Senate Chairman on Agriculture, Sen. Adamu Abdullahi have sharply opposed that view.

According to him, the blame should be put mainly at the doorsteps of the federal government who have continued to play lip service to the issue of agriculture thereby allowing it to remain at the bottom of the government’s program. “Why do we have to blame our development partners when we have a government that has continued to pay lip service to the issues that pertain to agriculture. According to the agricultural industrialist, the root of this problem can be traced back to the Maputo Declaration where member countries of the African Union agreed to dedicate 10% of the countries annual budget towards agriculture and food security an agreement which no one was forced to sign but as a realisation of the necessity to ensure food security across the continent.

But Nigeria today is somewhere between 1% because the best we ever achieved was under the administration of late President Yaradua where we had about 2.7%, so if today the budget for agriculture is less that 1% then we need to do more. Nigerians across all spheres of life especially those of you in the media need to begin to ask legitimate questions and demands because the government needs to reverse this trend else danger lies ahead,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Agricultural Insurance Company (NAIC) Insists that it has the mandate and capacity to insure all registered Nigerian farmers. This was in response to questions posed to the Managing Director of NAIC Mrs. Folashade Joseph by Journalists who wanted to know if NAIC is satisfied with the present state of Agriculture in Nigeria. According to her she shares the same sentiments as expressed by the Minister of Agriculture who stated during his remark that agriculture needs to be given its rightful position as Nigeria’s number one revenue earner to the extent that it should be capable of employing thousands of unemployed young people.
“I do agree with the Minister of Agriculture that agriculture must be given significant attention and we need to commend the Minister for doing so much to redefine the way agriculture is being perceived in the country, we are NAIC and our core mandate is to insure the farmers and ensure that they are insulated from any risks that may be associated with their industry.”

The MD went further to appreciate the role of the development partners whom she described as partners in progress and urged all stakeholders in the industry to ensure that they tap into the technical expertise that they will be providing. “We in NAIC, just like our hon. Minister see the importance of working with all stakeholders in the agricultural sector including our development partners whom we believe have the expertise needed to grow the industry faster and in a more efficient and sustainable manner.”

By, Uchechukwu Ugboaja