Kwara State Government is currently battling to ensure that the state becomes food sufficient by 2030. To this end, the state is driving a 10-year agricultural transformation plan.
This is happening as Nigerian Institute of Food Science and Technology (NIFST) is insisting that food sufficiency will continue to be a mirage if Abuja keeps applying old solutions to new challenges.
Chairman of the Institute, Sunday Bamgbose, who said this, equally pointed out that, security challenges will continue to pose a huge threat to food security, if not urgently addressed.
“I don’t expect any positive result if we keep applying 15th-century solutions to 21st-century problems. Government needs to do a root cause analysis of the problem affecting food production and apply solutions devoid of sentiments.
“It is abnormal that we are still talking of grazing route in this century when we have a better option in ranching,’’, he said.
On the spiraling food prices, the chairman also pointed out banditry and dearth of innovative solutions as some of the contributory factors. These factors, if not addressed, will make food affordability a mirage for Nigerians, he stated.
He, however, urged Nigerians to increase food production capacity by engaging in any form of food production, particularly subsistence farming.
Bamgbose is calling on the government to pay more attention to the criticisms of the populace, regarding its food policies, adding that these should be seen as criticisms with prospects, and not total condemnation, if the food sector is to move forward.
According to the state government, the Kwara plan will capture significant aspects of the agricultural value chain and also create job opportunities and alleviate poverty.
Speaking at the launch of the document in Ilorin, the state capital, Governor Abdulrazaq Abdulrahman disclosed that the state will soon pump N2.00 billion into the agricultural sector and also strengthen partnership with stakeholders in the agricultural value chain.
“It is a 10-year plan which is based on verifiable data gathered from field research and extensive consultations with various stakeholders and experts in the sector. The plan spells out the opportunities and challenges in the agricultural sector in the state, and identifies six pillars that are critical to the success of the plan”.
According to Governor Abdulrahman, plans are in motion to kick-off the state’s agricultural agenda, stating the government was working in tandem with viable partners to bring its food sufficiency project to light.
“We are working to ink an agreement with the Lagos State Government on food production and, in partnership with NEPAD, Kwara will also be investing about N2.00 billion in the agricultural sector. The partnership with NEPAD will be anchored by the department of agriculture at Kwara State University, which will be at Ilesha Baruba.
“This administration will conclude the construction of the Ilesha Baruba campus. The campus has extensive land which I have visited.’’
He has already met the French Ambassador to Nigeria who has agreed to send a team to the state. The envoy is said to be particularly interested in the agricultural sector, most especially the livestock sector,” the governor said.
The State’s Chairman of All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Umar Aboki, has lauded the government for engaging farmers in the new policy framework and also expressed confidence in the capacity of the present administration to successfully implement the project.
“The governor’s words can be taken to the bank. We have absolute confidence in your leadership because of what you have demonstrated not only in agriculture but virtually all spheres of the economy.
All farmers are following the trends of events and are very happy with your laudable programmes and projects”, he said.