By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
The Agricultural Policy Research Network, APRINet, at the weekend, urged the Federal Government to aid agricultural research usage with adequate infrastructural development.
Speaking on the essence of proper policy formulation and implementation in the agricultural sector, President, APRINet, Dr Anthony Onoja, at the 6th APRINet/IFPRI/USAID Annual National Multi Stakeholders Forum, held in Abuja, said one of the factors affecting the Agricultural Promotion Policy, APP, implementation has been poor attention given to critical infrastructural provisions to create the enabling environment for operators to thrive.
Onoja further stated that researches need to be carried out by multi-stakeholders from the academia and communities that would promote innovations with practical solutions to problems faced by farmers and investors.
He also explained that APRINet this year targets change in agricultural policies that are not favourable to farmers in the country, which have negatively impacted on food production, hence the effective approach of agric policies implementation to achieve the aims of such policies in the sector.
Meanwhile, some participants at the forum charged research institutions to do more in carrying out accessible researches that would help farmers to produce more food as the population of Nigerians continues to increase and also to take advantage of the African food market.
According to them when policies are not backed up by infrastructures such as good roads, preservation facilities, adequate electricity supply, creation of enabling environment for farmers, credit facilities among others such policies are doomed to fail.
He said: “We at APRINet believe that achieving the goals of well-intended policies of agricultural and food development requires an interface between multi-stakeholders to bring scholastic ideas and innovations from the academic and scientific communities as well as the sector’s key players to bear on delivering practical solutions to teething problems in the agriculture and food sector facing the nation’s economy.
“There has been a significant increase in food production especially cassava, but the inability of farmers to transport the root crops to the market due to bad roads and high cost of transportation has led to a glut of the produce.
“That the glut last year affected farmers negatively making most of them to be discouraged and moved away from cassava production.
“To make agricultural policies relevant farmers and the intended users must be carried along and any agricultural policies that do not involve the farmers will not succeed.”
The APRINet boss also stated that the primary mandate of the organization is to bring agricultural stakeholders together in order to have inclusive participation in agricultural policy formulation and implementation in Nigeria.
However, one of the key resource persons at the forum was the President of National Association of Nigerian Traders, NANTS, Ben Ukoha, in delivering his paper titled ‘Agenda Setting for the New Minister on the Interventions Expected By Farmers and Nigerian Traders Towards Food Security in Nigeria: Perspectives from the Agriculture Stakeholders Council in Nigeria’ charged research institutes to step up and deliver reliable and implementable researches that are solution-driven that would benefit farmers and enhance food security.
Ukoha further stressed that research institutes should not only deploy funds to paying workers’ salary alone, but must ensure that they are innovative, producing new technologies that would tackle the myriads of challenges in the sector, and added that Nigeria would not continue to import agricultural technology while there are research institutions charged with such responsibilities in providing the needed technology for the sector.