The National Council on Agriculture and Rural Development (NCARD), has recommended measures that should be implemented with a view to boosting agriculture and ensure food security in the country.
The Council came up with the recommendations in a Communique issued at the end of its 44th Regular Meeting in Abuja, and signed by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Muhammad Nanono.
According to NCARD, when implemented, the measures will go a long in addressing the challenges of low food production and food insecurity in the country, adding that it recognised the level of economic devastation the COVID-19 pandemic, floods and general insecurity in the country had caused in the agricultural sector.
The measures proposed and approved to bolster the nation’s agriculture sector, according to the communique are:
“The abolition of the use of tyres, kerosene and plastic materials for flaying of animals for human consumption, with a view to replacing the harmful substances with renewable energy and gas.
“The proposal for the training of 75,000 extension workers over a period of three years. The trainees will include the beneficiaries of the N-Power programme.
“A proposal for 2.5 per cent farmers’ loan, levies on agricultural products and support from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
“The National Livestock Transformation Plan, proposed to be implemented over 10 years in Nigeria, with involvement of the private sector.
“The establishment of livestock disease free zones/compartments for improved diseases control and facilitation of international trade in animals and animal products and the the establishment of Bio-pesticide Centre in Nigeria for food security and safety.
“The strategies of increasing domestic fish production, mitigating post-harvest losses of fish produce, and reducing fish importation.
“The conduct of detailed National Survey and Soil Fertility Mapping nationwide in collaboration with the private sector.
“The proposal for the resuscitation of National Agricultural Data Management and Information System for planning and policy coordination.
“The proposal to revive school farms and Young Farmers Club to encourage youth to venture into farming as a business for sustainable agricultural development.
“The Review of Entry Point for Agricultural Officers from Grade Level 08 to Grade Level 09, as well as the establishment of NCARD Resolutions Implementation Task Team to ensure compliance on Council resolutions.
According to the communique, the Council further stressed the need to bring a lasting solution to the challenges of Herders/Farmers conflict with a view to boosting agriculture in the country.
It said that a resolution of the conflict will also end attendant insecurity challenges and boost Agricultural production in the country.
The NCARD document, the communique added, noted that the efforts by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to diversify the Nigerian economy from dependence on oil and gas, will reposition agriculture to its rightful place in the Nigerian economy.
It also acknowledged the role of the Federal and State Governments in bringing about lasting solutions to the challenges of food security in Nigeria.
“Council acknowledged the efforts of the Organized Private Sector, Development and Technical Partners, Civil Society Organizations in their quest to solve the challenges of food and nutrition insecurity in Nigeria,” It said.
The Communique said the Council further added that there was the need for the three tiers of Government to increase investments in rural infrastructure to open rural farming communities to markets and further reduce the migration of youth to urban centers.
It said that the Council unanimously resolved to hold the 45th NCARD Meeting in Jos, Plateau, in 2022.