Medical/Health Care

Nigerian Senate to pass Agriculture, Industry and Modernization Bill

The Nigerian Senate is set to pass a Bill that will facilitate the modernization of Agriculture and its allied industries across the country, to encourage young Nigerians to go into mechanized farming.

According to the spokesman of the Senate, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, the Senate wants to pass the Agriculture, Industry and Modernization Bill because many young Nigerians don’t want to go into the kind of agricultural system their parents or grand parents did which is the use of hoe and cutlasses.

Speaking shortly after he received a Merit Award from the Agricultural Extension Society of Nigeria (AESON) during their 24th annual conference holding in Abuja, Senator Abdullahi said the agricultural sector needs transformation.

Senator Abdullahi who represents Niger North Senatorial district, said he has conducted a research on how countries like Philippine, Malaysia, Singapore, India, Sri Lanka, Thailand and other South eastern Asian countries succeeded in Agriculture, added that if passed into law, the Agriculture, Industry and Modernization Bill will also transform the agricultural industry in Nigeria.

A number of young boys today are not ready to do the kind of agriculture their parents or grand parents did, that is, using hoe and cutlass. They want a modern agriculture that is using all the necessary modern agricultural tools. And that is not possible without the necessary laws, Abdullahi said expressing optimism that if the 8th senate did not pass the bill, he will reintroduce it in the 9th Senate.

Definitely, if I am not able to get it through in this Senate, the good thing is that I am back in the 9th Senate and it will be the very first bill I will like to introduce because I will like to see that the bill gets the necessary attention. Based on the research I conducted, knowing what happened in countries like Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, India, Srilanca, Thailand and so many other South East Asian countries, I am convinced if this bill comes to play, definitely it will contribute in moving the agricultural sector foward interns of modernization.

Senator Abdullahi revealed that the Agriculture, Industry and Modernization Bill seeks to place agriculture as the fulcrum of industrialization through modernizing the way Agriculture is in the country.

What this means is that within the context of the bill, there will be policy formulation. We want to bring the national Council on Agriculture and make it a much more practical form where all contributors in the agricultural industry will come and discuss on the relevant policies as it affect agriculture. Currently, it is just an administrative routine where they go to conferences and by the time the council is gone, in many instances, you don’t achieve much. But here we have expanded the council to bring in both the private sector, farmers and various interest groups so that they will contribute to policy making.

It is more or less of democratising the various stakeholder groups in policy formulation in agriculture. Now, the other area the bill seeks to cover is the area of standard. Currently, you are not able to have a hold of what standard is guiding any agricultural operation.

The other critical aspect of the bill is the area of mechanization. Mechanization is in the heart of industrialization. Its about industrializing and modernizing our agriculture. But right now, the agricultural engineers are either abandoned or forgotten. And this bill seeks to rehabilitate that profession and bring it to to a very veritable tool for agricultural development so that at the end, whatever it is that you are mechanizing, which means you will be dealing with a lot of machines. Wherever they are situated you must have the capacity for people to be able to provide services and technical assistance.

Right now it is weak because the profession has not been able to be given the right place so that bill also seek to achieved. The order aspect we suffer from is the issue of agricultural land. Yes, land belongs to the state but in this bill, what we are trying to achieve is to force the state who want to participate in federal government sponsored agricultural programme, to guarantee that there farmers will have titles to their land. So, that way, there is certainty. If a farmer said he is going to use 10 hecters you can locate the 10 hecters through the dashboard and you will know that in that 10 hecters, rice is going to be grown this year, next year, maybe it is going to be groundnut.

This will enable us to plan properly and address the needs of farmers. So, for me this and many other aspects of the bill are important because until we bring in a bill that will promote the modernization of agriculture, we can’t go anywhere, Abdullahi added.

Source: Voice of Nigeria