By Henry Umoru
The Senate, yesterday, declared that when passed into law, the Bill on Agriculture, Industry and Modernisation currently before the Senate would transform Nigeria.
According to the Senate, the bill when passed into law, will give the required legal framework for mechanised farming in the country, particularly in the area of land to be used for that purpose by interested Nigerians.
Speaking in Abuja after he received a Merit Award from the Agricultural Extension Society of Nigeria, AESON, during their 24th annual conference, Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi (APC Niger North), said: “A number of young boys today are not ready to do the kind of agriculture their parents or grandparents did, that is, using hoe and cutlass.
“They want modern agriculture that uses all the necessary modern agricultural tools. And that is not possible without the necessary laws. Based on the research I conducted, knowing what happened in countries such as Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, India, Srilanca, Thailand and so many other South East Asian countries, I am convinced that if this bill come to play, definitely it will contribute in moving the agricultural sector forward interns of modernisation.”
Sabi Abdullahi, who incidentally was the sponsor of the bill waiting for second reading, said that the Agriculture, Industry and Modernisation Bill seeks to place agriculture as the fulcrum of industrialisation through modernising the way agriculture is practised in the country, adding, “What this means is that within the context of the bill, there will be policy formulation.”
We want to bring the National Council on Agriculture and make it a much more practical form where all contributors in the agricultural industry will come and discuss the relevant policies as it affects agriculture.”
“Currently, it is just an administrative routine where they go to conferences and by the time the council is gone, in many instances, you don’t achieve much. But here, we have expanded the council to bring in both the private sector, farmers and various interest groups so that they will contribute to policymaking.”
Senator Abdullahi, who noted that if farmers were able to come to terms with what standards are when it comes to exporting their product, they will be getting the right price rather than discounted prices, adding “The other critical aspect of the bill is the area of mechanisation. Mechanisation is in the heart of industrialisation. It’s about industrialising and modernising our agriculture.”
“But right now, the agricultural engineers are either abandoned or forgotten. And this bill seeks to rehabilitate the profession and make it to a very veritable tool for agricultural development so that at the end, whatever it is that you are mechanizing, means you will be dealing with a lot of machines. Wherever they are situated you must have the capacity for people to be able to provide services and technical assistance.”