This Day (Lagos)

26 November 2012

Nigeria: FG - Transformation of Agric Sector Unrealisable Without Local Governments

The Federal Government has stated that the transformation of the agricultural sector cannot be realisable without the active participation of the Local Governments in the country.

The Minister of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, disclosed this in Abuja at the 8th annual conference of the National Council of Local Government of Agriculture (NACOLGDA), with the theme 'Local Government: Critical to Actualisation of Nigeria Agriculture Transformation Agenda'.

The Minister, who was represented by his Technical adviser, Dr. Adetunji Oredipe, said that, though the federal government has been doing well in working with the State governments, but lagging behind in doing same with the Local Governments who have better idea of the plight of the farmers at the grassroots.

Adesina stressed that "It is unfortunate that we have not been getting it right in this country, and it is unfortunate that the State Governments have not allowed the Local Governments to function properly".

He however added that, the National Assembly was keen to ensure the full autonomy of local governments, stressing that until the local government autonomy is ensured, a full agriculture transformation cannot be witnessed at the 3rd tier of government closer to the people.

Adesina explained that the growth of agriculture sector in Nigeria has been lopsided since 1960 after the discovery of oil, noting that the federal government, through the ministry of agric, was doing everything possible to get it right again.

Earlier, the National President of NASCOLDA, Mr. Dayo Komolafe, said the event was aimed at highlighting the programme of the government and critically look at the ways the local government can benefit effectively from the new Agricultural Transformation Agenda.

He said that the NASCOLDA would continue to support well designed strategies of individuals or government for continued improvement in the productivity of agriculture.

Komolafe urged the National Assembly to ensure speedy passage of the professionalisation of agriculture before it, so as to reposition the sector and help improve the economy.

The Chairman, Shiroro Local Government, Abdullahi Yerima, opined that the current budgetary allocation to agriculture sector was inadequate, saying that transformation in this sector means transformation in all other sectors.

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