19th August, 2019
The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan on Sunday called for double-digit budget investment in agriculture backed by a vibrant rural infrastructure to help states accelerate transformation in the sector.
A statement issued in Lagos by the Communication Officer of IITA, Mr Godwin Atser, quoted the Director-General of IITA, Dr Nteranya Sanginga, to have made the call when he visited Gov. Seyi Makinde of Oyo state.
Sanginga was quoted as saying that “no matter the good intentions, there will not be any meaningful transformation in agriculture if the nation continues to invest less than 10 percent of its budget in the sector.
He recalled that in 2003, African heads of state in Maputo made a commitment to invest at least 10 percent of their annual budgets in agriculture.
“Sixteen years after the declaration, only a few countries have implemented that declaration.
“One of the countries that has fulfilled the commitment is Ethiopia.
“Ethiopia is today investing more than 10 percent and that country is witnessing a rapid transformation in agriculture,” Sanginga said.
He made reference to the Oyo state agricultural policy framework and its investment in agriculture which, he noted, had nosedived from about seven percent to two percent from 1995 to 2017.
Sanginga further urged the government to pay serious attention to rehabilitation of rural roads (feeder roads) to help in transporting agricultural produce from the farm to the market.
He decried the deterioration of infrastructure in several farm settlements and called for ways to involve youths in agriculture.
The IITA boss opined that youth inclusiveness was imperative for sustainable agricultural development agenda of the state.
Responding, the governor pledged the commitment of his administration to work with IITA to achieve agricultural transformation.
He said that the state government had identified four pillars, including education, rural infrastructure, economic development (agriculture), and security to help drive development.
Makinde said that for the state to attain economic development, agriculture must be transformed.
“This is because most of our people depend on agriculture for their livelihoods.
“Besides, through agricultural transformation, we will be able to provide the needed jobs for our youths,” he added.
On infrastructure, he promised that construction would soon begin on one of the major agricultural roads from Moniya to Iseyin.
“On completion, the road would ease the movement of farm produce to the market,” he said.
He also said that discussions were in top gear with the Federal Government to rehabilitate the Oyo town-Iseyin Road.