By Victoria Ojeme
ABUJA: The Federal Government has been accused of diverting money being allocated to farmers, just as 60% of consumed rice in Nigeria comes from outside economy.
Prof. Ode Ojowu made this known at the National Agriculture Policy Dialogue held in Abuja recently.
Prof. OjowuÂ stated that, Rice is both potential and a threatÂ to the country, saying that â€œthe volume of money being spent on buying rice is more than what Nigeria needs to turn in wards to produce rice.â€
According to him, â€œThe way out is to ensure that states take responsibility for agriculture in their respective states and even in that responsibility is to ensure that farmers are reached there can be no other way of doing this rather than commitment in reaching to the farmerâ€
â€œAs long as Government at all levels try to use the farmer as a cover for stealing money we will not get it right that is why we need a policy document for each state so that we can hold them responsible, this is what you say you will do to the farmers why have you not done it, we need advocacy we need people to put pressure on government to do the right thing.â€
of increasing to organisation and improve income we must domesticate rice quality, processing, packaging and branding as anÂ important aspect of domestic rice development.â€
â€œAgriculture sector is not neglected neither is it under funded but how money have been spent and wasted and doesnâ€™t reach to the farmers, for example fertilizer, the method of buying and distributing makes it difficult to get to the farmers at the right time in the right quantity there is a problem,â€ he added.
In his welcome address, the acting programme manager, (PrOpCom)Promoting Pro_Poor Opportunities in Commodity and Service Markets, Mr. Don Brown. Stated that lack of adequate and sustained policies that can lead to functional markets for the benefits of poor people is one of the major challenges the agricultural sector is facing.
According to him, â€œin adapting effective and sustainable policy reforms each state should take note of its own peculiar political, socio_economic and cultural situationâ€.