By Murtala Adewale
Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, has said the Federal Government’s agricultural policy is no option for Nigeria that hopes to grow into a resilient economy.
According to Atiku, the prevailing policy is worsened by low productivity and subsistent agriculture, coupled with underperforming manufacturing sector, crippling the large potential and comparative advantage Nigeria holds in the sector.
While addressing All Value Chain Conference of Small Holder Farmers on his roadmap for the agricultural sector in Kano, yesterday, the former vice president promised to accelerate the country’s agricultural output by 3.7 per cent with N55 trillion turnover by 2030, if voted to power.
Atiku, represented by the Director of Support Groups, PDP Presidential Campaign Management Council 2023, Dr. Baraka Sani, pledged to optimise the irrigation policy to enhance food security.
He lamented that with a potential of 3.1 million irrigation in the country, government is only tapping 70,000 hectares of irrigation land, low portion representing only 2.2 per cent of total potential.
Atiku assured that, if voted as president, he would sustain capacity and investment in infrastructure for smallholder farmers and facilitate their access to finance. He added that under him, government would consider commercialisation of river basin authorities and build on silo concession model.
“Under our administration, the Federal Government will collaborate with states in the design and implementation of robust and sustainable land reforms and simplify land transfer and titling. We would strengthen markets for agricultural commodities through establishment of private sector-led commodities exchange.
“I will also work closely with African Development Bank (AfDB) to increase incentives to attract private sector agri-business to set up processing plants in the staple crop processing zone across the country. That will boost commitment to modernisation and mechanisation of small-scale agriculture to international levels.”
The PDP presidential candidate, however, solicited the support of the farmers drawn from all agriculture values chain through their votes in next month’s election to enable him actualise the lofty plans.