Farmers under the auspices of the FCT Farmers’ Association have tasked the Federal Government with providing agricultural incentives and modern farming equipment to boost production in the sector and enhance food security.
The association made this call during the Senior Executive Course (SEC) 44, 2022, of the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru, Jos, Plateau State.
The group unanimously called on the government to boost agricultural productivity which is one of the identifiable challenges confronting the nation by mainstreaming farmers in policy decisions that will tackle the challenge of food security.
Driving their point home during the interactive session, the association expressed concern and disappointment over what it described as “apathy, total neglect and exclusion from socio-economic affairs by the government”. The group, therefore, appealed to government to carry it along in policy decisions, especially in the fertiliser allocation and distribution as well as other agricultural inputs.
“Most of us survive on individual efforts without government’s support. We need to be provided with agricultural incentives like credit facilities and fertiliser. Government should not give loans only to portfolio farmers, who do not have farms. Our major challenge is non-availability of modern equipment for agricultural production.
“The government should demonstrate more commitment to the fight against corruption and the increasing spate of insecurity in some parts of the country,” as, according to them, the situation is seriously affecting agricultural production and food security in the country.
Earlier, the NIPP SEC 24 course head of delegation/team lead, Prof. Sunday Ochoche, speaking during the interactive session with representatives and leaders of civil society organisations, religious associations, NGOs, the Indigenous People of Abuja (IPA), farmers and market women associations, said his team was touring various parts of the country with a mandate from President Muhammadu Buhari, to critically assess the problems and challenges of low political participation, political apathy and citizens’ indifference in local governance system in the country, to develop policies and strategies for strengthening local governance and administration in Nigeria.
He explained that local and grassroots participation in governance by the citizens has been on a steady decline with increasing neglect and erosion of the fabrics of local council administration.
The head of the delegation from the Indigenous People of Abuja, Pastor Danladi Umar, urged the Federal Government and the FCT Administration to expedite action in resolving issues relating to the status and plights of the IPA.
It would be recalled that, earlier in the week, the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mallam Muhammad Musa Bello, charged the NIPSS to seek lasting solutions to the myriad of problems confronting local government administration in the country. He made the call when he hosted members of the SEC 44 team, led by Ochoche, at the banquet hall of his residence in Life Camp, Abuja.
The minister reminded them of the invaluable roles of local governments in local governance, grassroots administration and rural development in Nigeria. “The role of local councils in local government administration, grassroots governance and rural development is so tremendous that local governments cannot be neglected,” he said. “As the third tier of government, local council administration cannot be neglected as it is the closest to the people among the three tiers of government.”
He noted that without the local council administration, social infrastructure such as rural access roads, healthcare facilities, pipe-borne water, schools agriculture and security cannot be provided by government.
A statement by the chief information officer, economic planning, revenue-generation & public-private partnership (EPRG&PP) secretariat, FCTA, Nnachi Okafor said the theme of the 2022 Senior Executive Course 44 is “Strengthening Local Governance in Nigeria: Opinions and Opportunities”. The event featured discussions, question-and-answer sessions, tours and visitations to government agencies and parastatals.