Transparency Advocacy for Development Initiative (TIDA), a coalition of civil society group, has called on governments at all levels to invest more in agriculture, to boost production in the sector and provide food at affordable rates.
The Executive Director, TADI, Mr Yomi David, made the call at a news conference to commemorate the World Farmers Day in Abuja.
According to David, it is disheartening to note that over 70 per cent of employment opportunities in the country are gotten from the agricultural sector and yet the nation is lagging behind in farm produce.
He explained that majority of the foods consumed in the country were largely imported, adding that this was seriously taking retarding the nation’s economic progress, calling for immediate actions from all quarters.
“It is also very sad to observe that farming in Nigeria vis-a-vis the agricultural sector had been largely neglected by past administrations as little and unattended attention had been given to the sector.
“This had largely affected households, endangering food security and the national Gross Domestic Product.
“Nigeria is now at the mercies of other nations for food and raw materials needed to fuel critical industrial needs for local production of agro-based products, such as life saving drugs, animal feeds and finished goods.
“As a nation, we can not continue to dwell on food importation if we must secure the future of Nigeria.
“This could only be done through sophisticated farming process that could only be guaranteed by a vibrant and adequate investment.
“We hereby call for a greater investment on Nigerian farmers by government at all levels to ensure the sector is given the needed attention for optimal production and contribution to the overall development of Nigeria.
“Government must be deliberate in tackling insecurity on farm lands by tackling activities of criminal elements operating as terrorists and their likes to ensure safer environment for farmers to operate without fear or intimidation,” David said.
He also said that farmers/herders clashes should be immediately addressed to ensure harmonious relationship between them, to eliminate the perennial clashes occasioned by the differences existing between both parties.
He suggested that special funding should be set up to rejig agricultural sector through higher budgetary allocation to the sector by the National Assembly.
He added that all critical agencies, parastatals and institutions under the Federal and State Ministry of Agriculture should be adequately
funded for them to perform maximally all year round.
“Special intervention fund should be established for the National Centre for Agricultural Mechanisation (NCAM) for it to meet its mandate of fabricating and manufacturing basic farm tools for farmers across the country at affordable rates.
“We felicitate with President Bola Tinubu and All Farmers Association of Nigeria and in particular, farmers who have continued to weather all storms to provide food for all Nigerians on todays occasion of Nigeria Farmers Day.
“We also call on Nigerians to join hands with the current administration in its drive to protect farmers and pastoralists to ensure food security for Nigeria, ” he said.