By Oludele Taiwo
An agriculturist and the Chief Executive Officer of BAMA farms, Prince Wale Oyekoya, has affirmed that Nigeria must adhere to the Maputo agreement, which the country is a signatory to by setting aside 10 per cent of the national budget to the agriculture sector.
He stated this in an interview stating that as a result of the low budgetary for the agriculture sector, it has not really put enough food on the tables of Nigerians.
He said the agriculture transformation agenda had been thrown in the back burner and that food inflation had gone up as high as 21 per cent while prices have gone off the roof beyond the reach of an average Nigerian.
Oyekoya stated that many factors contributed to the food crisis in the country, which the three tiers of government have allegedly failed woefully to tackle. According to him, some of the factors include banditry and poor security apparatus system, climate change with heavy rain that causes flood in almost all states of the country, lack of mechanised farming where the farmers still practice subsistence and archaic method of farming.
He also identified lack of funds and insincerity of the government on the intervention funds to the farmers where funds were shared among the political and portfolio farmers, as another factor.
Oyekoya further noted that poor infrastructure in the rural areas, where 80 per cent of farmers reside with their families, post-harvest losses as most of the farm produce perish on the road due to bad road and herdsmen/farmers clashes, are other factors.
He stated that the most disturbing aspect is the issue of corruption in the agriculture sector where most of the funds allocated to farming have allegedly been embezzled by the politicians through crooked means pretending to be assisting farmers. To overcome these challenges, he said there is the need to visit them one by one so that if that is done, there would be plenty of food on the table and at the same time, be able export some of the farm produce.