Lack of access to improved seeds and seedlings confronting farmers in Kaduna state, may soon become a thing of the past, given the renewed impetus by critical stakeholders, small holder farmers and development partners to address the setback in the state.
A public policy dialogue to tackle farmers’ blockages to improved seeds and seedlings was during the week put together by Coalition of Associations for Leadership, Peace, Empowerment and Development (CALPED) in collaboration with Kaduna State Ministry of Agriculture with support from Partnership to Engage Reform and Learn(PERL).
The dialogue opened with an overview of the challenges facing farmers in the state delivered by Yusuf Ishaku Goje, who stated that the public policy dialogue became necessary to create a joint citizens-government mechanism to reflect and deliberate on blockages hindering farmers from accessing improved seeds and inputs and mutually agree on the way forward.
Apart from providing opportunity for sectoral budget and strategic planning, the new move is expected to focus keenly on the review of the state’s budget, 2020 State Development Plan(SDP), says insiders.
In his remarks, Director Livestock of the state’s Agriculture ministry, Mohammed Hussaini, welcome the fresh synergy between small holder farmers and disclosed that the state government’s new direction was targeted at effective poultry farming, piggery, animal husbandry and bee-keeping in livestock development.
Director of Veterinary and Public Health, Kaduna state Ministry of Agriculture, Dr Pakachi Zakariya Sam, who made a presentation on essence of animal health in relation to agriculture at the event, believes that if more funding is pumped into the agriculture sector, the country’s alarming unemployment would be minimized.
The public policy dialogue ended with a seven point communique on the way forward, as follows, to:
- create a joint citizens/government dialogue mechanism to reflect and deliberate on blockages hindering farmers’ access to improved seeds and other agricultural inputs;
- produce opportunity for sectoral and strategic budgeting with special focus on state development in respect of 2020 Budgets;
- provide an avenue for citizens and other critical stake holders to engage and make inputs into the state draft agricultural policy.
- address unhealthy farming practices, low pricing and glut to encourage government towards providing funding and intervention in challenges facing small holder farmers;
- increase extension services by employing more hands who must be professionals in the field; and
- create avenues for small holder farmers to access soft and subsidized loans.
Abdulrahaman Ali Musa of NAVARRO Group Limited, a Kaduna-based agro allied company, who spoke on behalf of about one hundred small holder farmers that grace the eye-opening event.
“We appeal to state government to address the issue of insecurity which has denied farmers access to their farmlands with the recurring incidence of kidnapping and attacks on farming communities”, Musa stated.