As Nigeria marked Democracy Day on June 12, the All Farmers Association of Nigeria, AFAN, Saturday, scored the nation’s agricultural development as a mixed bag of failure and success.
This was stated by the National President, AFAN, Arc Kabir Ibrahim, while speaking with Vanguard on burning issues yet to be addressed to improve food production and security.
According to Ibrahim various administrations from 1999 democracy was restored had made attempts to improve agriculture but not really penetrating core areas of productivity and performance including sustainability of policies and programmes that would have added value to the sector.
He also asserted that the sector with the doggedness of farmers against all odds including rising insecurity deserves more attention and transparency from the government and gives farmers some push that would take the sector beyond the level it is.
He said: “The period between 1999 and now (2020) has a mixed bag of successes and failure.
“President Olusegun Obasanjo began the agricultural revolution leading to what we have today when he assumed the Presidency in 1999.
“His antecedents are well known from his Operation Feed the Nation Policy as a Military Head of State between 1976 and 1979.
“He did fairly well and began the search for Food Security by appointing Professor Ango Abdullahi as SA Food Security. The achievements of that period are quite satisfactory.
“When late President Umar Yar’adua took over the investments in agriculture were enormous and the administration tried to meet the CADP and NEPAD recommendations comprising Storage, production, and marketing.
“The storage capacity of the nation was increased to 1.3 million metric tonnes, fertilizers, seeds, and some mechanization to boost production were also acquired.
“The Jonathan administration came up with ATA and made remarkable achievements by appointing a very hardworking and focused Honourable Minister of Agriculture in the person of Dr. Akinwumi Adesina who introduced innovations like e-wallet and agribusiness.
“The Buhari administration came with the APP (Green Alternative) which took all the fine points of ATA to create continuity in policy and has succeeded in making agriculture its focus and the achievements are laudable.
“The journey so far has been very good for Agriculture and in order to maintain the tempo his administration has to reappraise the performance of the current Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development.”
He also urged Nigerians to begin the search for leadership with competence and a detribalised crop of persons who will turn around the predicament the country is facing.
“The fight against corruption and policy consistency if sustained will definitely bring about the desired outcome. The search for leadership with competence, hard work, and integrity should be vigorously pursued from 2023.
“A leader who thinks of Nigeria as a collective enterprise for all Nigerians regardless of tribe, religion, and geography should be identified and given the mantle to drive Nigeria to greatness after President Buhari”, he stated.
On governance after 21 years of uninterrupted democratic rule, the AFAN helmsman said the basic problem of inequity needs to be stamped out for the country to make progress.
“The entrenchment of democracy in our body politic is very germane but corruption, insecurity and bad politics may have impeded the progress that Nigerians dreamt of from the inception of democratic rule.
“All the desired improvements in Education, health, above all security, etc. will be easily achieved when inequity is completely stamped out by true Nigerian leadership.