How to make Agriculture work for a new Kwara -Experts
By RAZAQ BAMIDELE
London, May 4, 2019 (AltAfrica)-Kwara State can become Nigeria’s agricultural hub if the new administration invests in infrastructure, irrigation and proper harnessing of the agricultural value chain.
These were the views of experts on Friday at a two-day Focused Workshop organised by the Kwara Transition Committee recently set up by the Governor-elect AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq.
Speaking at the opening of the Workshop, the experts said the state has the potential to be food and nutrition-secure if it puts the right measures in place.
Themed Realising the agricultural potentials of Kwara State: The Value Chain Approach, the workshop drew experts from across the country who commended AbdulRazaq for seeking practical answers to how the state can harness its agricultural potentials, generate employment and generate funds for development.
“Kwara has good volume of surface and underground water. But the irrigation facilities are just not there. Once rain ceases, there is a problem. No country in the world develops from rain-fed agriculture. Kwara must invest in irrigation to allow for all-year-round farming,” said Kingley Olurinde, an agricultural economist from the Agricultural and Rural Management Training Institute (ARMTI), Ilorin, Kwara State.
Olurinde said the new government must also invest in rural roads, schools, healthcare centres, and micro credit scheme to stimulate interest in farming and make the people truly productive.
Dr Sam Okunade, an agricultural expert from the University of Ilorin, said the workshop is a practical demonstration of AbdulRazaq’s interest in truly harnessing the state’s agricultural potentials.
Okunade tasked the new government to study how the regional governments of Obafemi Awolowo, Ahmadu Bello and Michael Okpara developed their regions with strict development of the agricultural value chains.
He urged the government to establish a scheme with a focus to train, fund and empower young graduates to farm as a deliberate way of tackling unemployment.
He also called for law reforms, such as the land tenure system, to make access to land easy for prospective commercial farmers.
In an address welcoming participants to the workshop, the Transition Committee Chairman Aminu Adisa Logun said the initiative was meant to “bring experts from across Nigeria to add (more) value to the work we have done in the past four weeks”.
He said the workshop focused on agriculture and women and youth empowerment after the committee identified them as key drivers of sustainable growth.
Logun said the committee has gathered and processed a lot of quality information and data which he hopes would help the new administration to hit the ground running after inauguration on May 29.
He said the topics treated at the workshop represented the core areas of the economy that can help the new administration to transform the state.
The topics includes ‘Unlocking the agricultural potential of Kwara State; Next level: Kwara can be self-sufficient in fish production; Agribusiness: women and youth engagement in a market-friendly development sector; Transforming Kwara’s agricultural value chain through mechanisation; Enhancement of productivity of rural farmers through irrigation; Exploring investment opportunities in the agribusiness value chain; Governance and Women empowerment in Kwara State; Women Economic Empowerment — Driving Sustainable Development in Kwara State; and Green Initiative Solutions (Kwara GIS).