December 18, 2021

Plateau unveils agric policy to drive employment

By Marie-Therese Nanlong

Jos – Agricultural policy and implementation plan 2022 to 2027 for Plateau State has been unveiled with the document seeking the allocation of at least 10 percent of the total annual budget of the State to the Ministry of Agriculture.

The document which is aimed at improving the agricultural value chain, making agriculture a hub of growth and transformation of the State’s economy, would also produce a clear strategy that will make agriculture a lucrative business.

The over a year process of producing the draft was supported by the pro-poor growth and promotion of employment in Nigeria – SEDIN program of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit, GIZ.

Receiving the draft, the State Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr. Hosea Finangwai noted, “The agricultural policy is designed to encourage foreign investors, boost employment opportunities for the citizens and scale-up internally generated revenue of the State.”

He observed that the World Bank is advocating the employment of about 30 to 40 million people in 2030 and it is only agriculture that can conveniently absorb such a level of the educated and uneducated workforce, create wealth, and improve the economy.

The Consultant who drove the process, Professor Paul Amaza from the University of Jos pointed out inadequate data was a major challenge he had while working on the draft, stressing that lack of data makes planning difficult.

He added, “This document will be the roadmap for the development of the State. If you want to get people out of poverty, there is no way you can ignore agriculture. We give priority to the value addition of crops, we ensured policy objectives are not conflicting and made sure we focused on the value chain, this is why ours is different from others. We are trying to promote that budget in the Ministry of Agriculture should be at least 10 percent of the State budget…”

Earlier, the representative of GIZ, Hauwa Mankilik said, “We are a development organization working with Plateau State, we are giving support to improve MSMEs and also in the agriculture in the State. This policy document when implemented will promote business enabling environment and foster entrepreneurship in the State and beyond.”