By Friday Idachaba
Lokoja – The Kogi Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr Kehinde Oloruntoba, has called on Nigerians to fast-track efforts to diversify the nation’s economy through agriculture via their adoption of gender-sensitive agricultural practices.
Oloruntoba made the call on Thursday in Lokoja at the meeting of the Core Delivery Team (CDT) of the State Partnership for Agriculture (SPA) on “Agricultural Gender Strategy”, organised by Synergos Nigeria.
He stressed that it was time for the people to adopt the “mirror approach’’ for self-examination and have a change of attitude, as part of efforts ensure the effectiveness of agricultural programmes.
The commissioner, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Dr Isah Ochepa, said that the state government was ready to collaborate with development agencies in its efforts to develop agriculture in the state.
Oloruntoba said that due to the feats of Ojapata Cassava Peels Processing Plant, which was initiated by Synergos, the state government would establish a prototype of the plant in each of the 21 local government areas of the state.
He also said that the state government would showcase the potential of its agriculture sector to spur rapid socio-economic growth, with the active collaboration of Synergos Nigeria.
In his address, Mr Victor Adejoh, Synergos Field Manager for Kogi, Benue and Kaduna states, said that that his organisation recently organised a programme for farmers and other stakeholders on “the transformation of the people’s mindset towards doing what is right.”
He said that Synergos had tried to bridge the gaps existing between the government and all stakeholders adding: “We try to remove the bottlenecks to effective agricultural transformation, from subsistence farming to agriculture as a business.’’
Kajta Nwator, Gender Consultant with Synergos International, who delivered a paper on “Gender Action Plan in the Agriculture Sector’’, described women and youths as critical priorities in all development programmes.
Nwator said that Synergos had collaborated with other organisations to develop an action plan, anchored by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, to promote gender-sensitive agriculture.
Mr Thomas Agene, the CDT Secretary, said that although Kogi was introduced to Synergos long before Kaduna State, the latter had budgeted N50 million for water traps in its 2018 budget to boost dry season farming.
Also speaking, Mrs Esther Audi, President of Women in Agriculture (WIA) Cooperatives Federation, said that the African Development Bank (AfDB) had concluded plans to give one billion-dollar loan to the National Agricultural and Multimedia Cooperative Federations in the country.
Audu said that each of the 15 benefiting states, including Kogi, would have access to a minimum of N2 billion when the pilot scheme started in November.