Strengthening ADPs for sustainable food security in Nigeria Strengthening ADPs for sustainable food security in Nigeria By Oboh Linus, News Agency of Nigeria Globally, food security has become an issue that raises concern especially in recent times with its attendant consequences: hunger, malnutrition, poverty, inflation, among others.
Recently, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation and Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said that about 19.
4 million people will face food insecurity across Nigeria between June and August, 2022.
It is also estimated that food crisis in Nigeria will affect 21 states and the Federal Capital Territory.
The report also notes that about 14.
4 million people, including 385, 000 IDPs in 21 states and the FCT are already hit by food crisis as at May, 2022.
Analysts attribute the current food crises in Nigeria to the neglect of small scale farming and over emphasis of cash crops production and the oil sector.
Indeed, the Agricultural Development Programmes (ADPs) were established in 1972 across the federation in order to bring about agricultural programmes and policies closer to small scale farmers in the rural areas.
It is on record that the success of the pilot scheme of the programme in few states led to its adoption and expansion nationwide by 1984.
The ADPs undertake all possible measures including partner relevant organisations to ensure timely and adequate supply of quality inputs and services, such as fertilisers, seeds, pesticides, agricultural implements to rural farmers.
Stakeholders advocate improved funding of the ADPs in order to boost food production and escape from the current food crisis.
They opined that the viability of ADPs depend largely on the strength of extension delivery system and stressed the need for government at all levels to recruit more extension agents to sustain education of small scale farmers on how to use the farm inputs made available to them.
“They need to be properly informed of the introduction of new improved crops and seedlings, different kinds of fertilisers and their uses as well as timeliness of use, the storage systems under which different post- harvest farm produce can survive over a relatively long period of time,” they opined.
Mr Emmanuel Alanana, Chairman, Programme Managers Forum of Nigeria, says the role of ADPs in Nigeria is largely about extension delivery system, which targets small scale farmers to ensure food sustainability and security.
Alanana asserted that small scale farmers who constituted larger population of farmers in Nigeria are the ones feeding the country.
Alanana who is also the Programme Manager of Nasarawa State Agriculture Development Programme said that ADPs have been facing many challenges.
He listed them as: Poor funding, inadequate staff, lack of operational vehicles to ease movement of extension agents, shortage of extension agents across the states.
“On an ideal situation, one extension agent is supposed to work with 800 farmers or at most 1000 farmers, but today as I speak to you now, the gap is so wide that one extension agent is working with about 15,000 to 20,000 farmers, so efficiency is not there.
“Other challenges are lack of funding and mobility; in those days as long as you are an extension agent, you are entitled to mobility.
“But today we are finding it difficult because all these things are lacking.
“For Nigeria to overcome the current food challenges, both federal and states governments have to move quickly and give more attention to agriculture, particularly funding ADPs,” he said.
He called on the Federal Government to collaborate with state governments to formulate policies to reinvigorate the ADPs and also regularly make inputs available to them.
“I’m calling on the federal and the state governments to fund ADPs, employ extension workers and provide mobility for them to ease their movement,” he appealed.
Mrs Grace Ede, Nasarawa State ADP Director of Extension, stressed that extension delivery system is the core mandate of ADPs. According to her, ADPs cannot exist without extension workers to carry out extension delivery function.
Ede said that the Nasarawa State ADP recently partnered United Nations Development Programme, with the assistant of Nasarawa State Government to distribute farm inputs to 400 farmers who were affected by farmers and herders crises in the state.
” Extension delivery system in Nasarawa State has been facing a lot of challenges, ranging from inadequate staff to mobility, we are supposed to have at least 200 extension agents, but I as speak to you now, we have just about 60 or thereabouts extension workers, this is inadequate to function optimally.’’ Ede recalled that ADP’s last recruitment in the state was during the administration of former Gov. Aliyu Akwe-Doma, between 2007 and 2011 where 150 workers were recruited.
He noted that since then, there was no employment again till date.
Ede, while commending Gov. Abdullahi Sule for various support extended to ADP, appealed to the state government to employ more workers for ADP.
He said that employment of more workers will enable ADP to discharge its core mandate of extension delivery system effectively.
Mr Nuhu Oshafu, Nasarawa State Commissioner for Agriculture and Water Resources, says the state is leaving no stone unturned to ensure food security.
He said that the state government recently distributed farm implements and inputs at subsidised rate to farmers for both dry and wet seasons farming.
The agriculture commissioner said plans are under way to solve the manpower needs of the ADP to enable it live up to its mandate.
Oshafu said that the government has always provided enabling environment that afforded the ministry the opportunity to interface with donors agencies, as well as pay counterpart funds that paved way to assist farmers buy farm inputs.
“In January, the state secured 10 trucks load of fertilisers and other farm inputs for dry season farming.
“ They were distributed to farmers at subsidised rate; similarly government secured 34 and half trucks load of fertilisers in April for wet season farming, which were distributed to farmers in the state,” he said.
The commissioner also said that the state government had signed a memorandum of understanding with the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN) to provide N12 billion loan to civil servants to enable them venture into farming to boost food production.
Oshafu reiterated that the state government was committed to making the agriculture sector backbone of the state economy.
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The Federal Fund for Agricultural Development- Value Chain Development Programme (-VCDP), on Saturday, began distribution of wet season inputs to 976 rice, cassava farmers in Nasarawa State.
Dr Eunice Adgidzi, -VCDP Coordinator in Nasarawa, said this at the flag-off of the distribution exercise in Lafia.
She said the exercise was geared towards supporting farmers to produce the quality and quantity of food need to feed the growing population.
According to the coordinator, the beneficiaries are from 69 farmers’ organisations across five local government areas in the state – Lafia, Doma, Wamba, Nasarawa and Karu.
Adgidzi listed the inputs to include 3,880 kg of improved rice seeds, 3,600 bundles of cassava stems, 870 bags of fertilizers (NPK and urea) as well as 338 litres of selective and non selective herbicides.
“We are also ready to deploy quality extension services to ensure that farmers adopt the best agronomic practices that would yield the desired output.
“We did this last year and the result was massive.
Majority of our rice farmers exceeded the 4.5 metric tons per hectare standard of IFAD.
“Ozanawa farmers in Doma LGA recorded the highest yield of 7.8 metric tons per hectare.
Hopefully, we shall achieve more this year, ” Adgidzi said.
The programme coordinator appreciated the state government and other stakeholders for support towards the success of the programme.
The State’s Commissioner for Agriculture and Water Resources, Nuhu Oshafu, who flagged-off the exercise, challenge the farmers make judicious use of the inputs.
Oshafu was represented by the Deputy Director, Agriculture Extension and Engineering Services, Mr Solomon Abundaga at the ceremony.
He said the state government prioritised agriculture and was committed to collaborate with development partners to ensure the growth of the sector.
“The partnership with -VCDP is a product of Gov.
Abdullahi Sule’s unreserved commitment to agriculture.
“Government is investing is investing so much in agriculture.
But this will not yield any result without the cooperation of farmers.
“We therefore, expect farmers to complement this effort and give us the best,” he said.
Also speaking, Mr Emmanuel Alanana, Programme, Nasarawa Agricultural Development Programme, challenged the beneficiaries not abuse the opportunity given by government to boost food production.
He warned them against selling the inputs, especially fertilizer giving the high cost of the commodity in the market.
Some of the beneficiaries, Daniel Amanza, Victoria Khaki and Hanatu Agwele thanked -VCDP for the gesture.
They told the News Agency of Nigeria that the inputs they got from the programme last year helped to improved their yield and expressed optimism for a bumper harvest with the current input support.
The Nasarawa State Government has expressed readiness to partner farmer groups towards achieving food sufficiency in the state.
Prof. Allahnana Otaki, the state Commissioner of Agriculture and Water Resources said this during the inauguration of Siloam Rice Mill facility at Rafin Sanyi, Obi Local Government Area, on Friday.
Allahnana, who was represented by Mr Abdullahi Arika, commended the Farm and Investment Network Cooperative Society Ltd (Farmnet) for establishing Siloam Rice Mill.
He said the facility would help to address the challenges of walking along distance by people of the area to mill rice.
He said the ministry is ready to partner with Farmnet and give it necessary assistance to achieve its objectives, especially when faced with difficulty.
Earlier, Mr Amos Agbo, the Managing Director, Farmnet, said the establishment of the Mill was aim at complementing government’s effort to ensure food sufficiency and combat hunger.
According to Agbo, Farmnet is acknowledged for consistent performance in commercial rice production, annual farm investment management, small holder cluster farming, contract farming with specialty crops such as rice and sesame among others.
He said that the company was targeting production and processing of 8,000 tons by 2021, that would translate to over N2 billion per annum in gross turn over for the investors cumulatively.
Agbo called on stakeholders to invest in agriculture, giving assurance that increase production and productivity through efficient resource management would contribute to availability of rice, food and increase alternative income.
In his remarks, Akin Ogidi, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) branch controller, Lafia, encouraged people to take advantage of Anchor Borrower Scheme to expand their farming activities.
Ogidi said the target of the bank was to make food available and create employment to increase GDP of the country.
Also, Osuko of Obi, Alhaji Aliyu Damgiwa – Ogiri, represented by Osoho of Olosoho, Dr Abubakar Apeshi commended Farmnet for establishing the rice Mill and called for support to enable it impact more lives.
Mr Emmanuel Alanana, Programme Manager, Nasarawa Agricultural Development Programme (NADP) encouraged farmers to increase production, noting that Nasarawa state has what it take to compete with other states in rice production.
Mrs Joanna Bello, the Chairman, Nasarawa Coalition for Professional and Business Association, while commending farmmet, appealed to CBN to provide funds and inputs at the right time to enable farmers start farming activities early.
Edited By: Celine-Damilola Oyewole and Isaac Ukpoju
Some Stakeholders in Nasarawa State have urged farmers to take advantage of the dry season farming to boost all year round food sufficiency in the state.
The stakeholders made this call at the official 2020 inauguration of Nasarawa State dry season farming by Gov. Abdullahi Sule in Lafia on Friday.
While commending the administration’s effort to boost food sufficiency, the stakeholders urged the farmers to reciprocate the gesture through hardwork.
Mr Ibrahim Akwe, the Chairman, House Committee on Agriculture pledged the commitment of the committee to initiate laws that would guarantee sustainable development in agricultural sector in the state.
“I am happy with this initiative, the flag off of sales of fertiliser to dry season farmers will kick start agricultural activities to ensure all year round food sufficiency,” he said.
Mr Emmanuel Alanana, the Acting Programme Manager, Nasarawa State Agricultural Development Programme (NADP), said the gesture was a demonstration of government’s commitment for all year round crops production in the state.
He said that official inauguration of sales of fertiliser alongside other farm inputs at subsidised rate would encourage farmers to go into dry season farming.
“Nasarawa state as an agrarian state needs not to be backward in dry season farming; we want to inculcate ideas of all year round farming activities in the minds of farmers.
“That is why we are encouraging them to go for dry season farming with the farming inputs,” he said.
The inauguration started with the sales of fertiliser at the rate of N4, 000 to the farmers alongside other inputs such as herbicide, rice and maize seeds, citrus, pawn as well as water pumping machines.
Edited by: Ifeyinwa Okonkwo/Grace Yussuf