Confab adopts Agricultural Committee’s Report

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ABUJA – The National in Abuja on Wednesday adopted the amended of its Agriculture and Water Resources Committee’s .

One of the adopted recommendations was the call for the revival of the unified agricultural extension with expansion of its coverage to include livestock production, fisheries, soil and water conservation.

It also accepted a recommendation government policies should take advantage of climate change and decertification by introducing new species of tree crops could adapt to desert.

It called on government to invest heavily in date palm plantations as well develop its related industries in communities with serious desert encroachment challenges.

The also accepted the recommendation farmers should be exposed to export as well as developing agricultural trade policy would promote agricultural export.

It also adopted the country should guard against land grabbing and ensure irrespective of purposes for which land was needed, the owner must not be dispossessed without due consultation and adequate compensations.

also resolved that Bio-Safety that would regulate trans- movement of genetically modified drugs be initiated and enacted by the National Assembly.

It recommended that major irrigation infrastructure in the North West be extended to other parts of the country as a way of boosting farming in those areas.

The conference called on the and local to facilitate the establishment and revival of skills-acquisition agricultural training centres in each senatorial district to make agriculture attractive to youths and for job creation.

It also called for the involvement of farmers, herdsmen and rural dwellers in formulating policies pertaining to soil degradation.

It was also decided that fertiliser production plants be established in different parts of the country to meet the growing demands by farmers and capital flight.

It said appropriate policy should be put in place to facilitate the participation of people living with disability to enable them to enjoy low interest on loan and 50 per cent on farm inputs.

It was agreed that government should grant low interest and long tenured micro-credit loans to assist the private sector to agricultural development.

In addition to existing budgetary allocation, it was adopted that 30 per cent of the National Resources Fund be used for the development of agricultural sector.

It added that an additional 20 per cent of the fund be used for the development of water resources, especially mechanised deep sea fishing to boost  foreign exchange earnings.

It also accepted that farm works should not be used as punishment for students for bad behaviour in .

The conference however rejected the recommendations that   called for the establishment of a new National Agricultural Coordinating Agency and the revival of farm settlements.

The also rejected a proposal that government should put in a policy where every land owner should have a minimum of trees grown on it.

The conference further rejected the recommendations that government should provide full scholarship for students doing OND, HND and degree courses in agriculture.

It also rejected the recommendation that the Federal Government should hand over river basin project to all state where they were located. (NAN)