9 July 2013

Nigeria: President Wants Land Use Act Repealed

President Goodluck Jonathan through the Presidential Committee on Land Reform is working out modalities to repeal the Land Use Act, 1978.

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, made this known Monday in Abuja, at a summit on "Realising the Potentials of Agriculture in Africa," organised by the Rockefeller Foundation (RF) as parts of the foundations centenary celebration.

Adesina said the presidential committee was given the task to ensure that Nigerians would have land titles.

"Mr. President has said we should remove the Land use Act from the constitution, there is a presidential committee on land reforms that has been put in place and the committee has been given the task to ensure that Nigeria can begin to have land titles because of what can have land titles because if you want to do agriculture and you don't have titles to land, you cannot not use it as collateral for lending or accessing funds," he said.

Adesina also stated that the federal government was doing a lot on land registration in the country, adding that the government would land cadastral survey, mapping out of lands at the same time guarantee that anybody who wants lands for agricultural purposes accesses it.

The minister also disclosed that the federal government through the Nigeria Agricultural Entrepreneurs (NAGRO-preneurs)'s initiative has concluded plans change the labour composition of the country's agricultural sector by recruiting 760, 000 for agricultural production and processing before the end of the year.

Adesina said the empowerment strategy would cover provision of access to land, which according to him, would be accomplished in conjunction with the state governments, technical skills, business investment skills and provision of funds.

According to him, the country was at the verge of going into agricultural extinction if young farmers were not empowered.

"The structure of the population of our farmers are old, a lot of them are aging rapidly, so we are essentially one generation away from extinction in agriculture if we don't change the labour composition so we are creating this programme which would be launched sometime this year, it is called Nigeria Agricultural Entrepreneur (Nagro-preneurs) this will be about 760, 000 young commercial farmers, they will be graduates universities, that particular programme will provide the following, access to land with which we are going to work with the state government, technical skills, business management skills and finance.

"This new generation of farmers will take Nigeria well into the future and a production affective, efficient and comparative agricultural sector, we are building that dream around them. It is a presidential initiative," he said.

Meanwhile, President Jonathan at the summit observed that Nigeria's economy would not grow without massive investment in agriculture.

The president noted that there was an unprecedented transformation in the Nigeria's agriculture through the Agricultural Transformation Agenda of the federal government, said the country must look towards agriculture to feed her people and earn foreign exchange.

"Unless we transform agriculture, our economy can't grow, millions our people depend agriculture for livelihood not oil, we must look elsewhere if we will continue to feed our people, agriculture has a new frontier for growth, with abundant land and water resources and vibrant labour force, Nigeria has all it takes to use agriculture as its new frontier for growth," he said.

The president added that Nigeria had no reason to be an exporter of food items due to its vast arable land and favourable ecology.

"There is no reason why Nigeria should be a net importer of food, we should be exporting because of our ecological zone, this is why I launch the Agricultural Transformation Agenda to make agric a driver of our economy just like it used to be in the 1960's before oil was discovered," the president added.

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