Prof. James Adediran, Soil Scientist, and Executive Director, Institute of Agricultural Research and Training, (IAR&T), Ibadan, said the encouragement of large-scale commercial agriculture will sustain the economy.
Adediran made the assertion in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Monday in Ibadan, Oyo state, where he said that different levels of governance should focus on areas of its agricultural strength to avoid duplication of the commercial agriculture activities.
He listed some of the areas to include provision of subsidy, relief, and supply of agricultural inputs to farmers.
According to him, local governments in some states are subsidising costs of tractors; the Federal Government is subsidising fertiliser and seedling while state government is supporting training.
“In some states, overlap of these supports are noticed, which usually hinders bumper harvest and not in the best interest of farmers.
“Policy makers should fashion out the kind of subsidy each government should embark upon to avoid duplication,” he said.
Adediran noted that those to provide seeds and seedlings should focus on the supply of resistant varieties to prevailing diseases and pests of individual ecology.
“ Varieties to be promoted for distribution to farmers should be adapted varieties with high yield for farmers to break even,” he said.
He said that the level to be in charge of marketing of agricultural produce should adopt the pattern in European countries where sales of produce should be per kilogramme.
“The price per kilogramme of food and agricultural products are not the same.
“This will reduce activities of the middlemen, enhance better sales of the produce and make farming attractive to youths.
“The dearth of breeders is a global problem; the Federal Government should make the profession more attractive to the students of agriculture through scholarships as incentive,” he said.
The executive director added that the national assembly should enact the plant varieties protection right to encourage crop variety development by plant breeders.
He urged the Federal Government, NGOs and other stakeholders, to provide facilities and adequate funding for meaningful breeding programme using crop varieties to sustain the crop improvement programme of research institutes and breeding companies
Frontpage September 5, 2017