The Chairman, National Heads of Colleges of Agriculture and Related Disciplines (NACHCARD), Dr Oluyemi Akande has identified the lack of soil survey and mapping, traditional farming, lack of proper irrigation system and lack of transport and market as some of the problems hampering agricultural development in Nigeria.
He stated this while briefing the media in Abuja on Thursday.
According to Dr. Akande unscientific and undemocratic distribution of land, over pressure of manpower, poor economic condition, lack of research activities due to lack of attention on agricultural institutions in the areas of synergy, collaboration, financial and infrastructural interventions are other problems militating against the sector.
“From the foregoing and coupled with current government policies on economic diversification and transformation that gave birth to green alternative programmes, agriculture still remains the backbone of Nigeria economy.
“In the present day, emphases are on consumption rather than exportation simply because the agricultural institution which are saddled with agricultural research system and produces the needed extension officers for the disseminations of research findings have been neglected and skimmed out of economic diversification and transformation agenda of the government,” Akande said.
He therefore appealed to relevant organisations and unions, especially ASUU to allow colleges of agriculture to benefit from Tetfund intervention as part of tertiary institutions in the country.
“Tetfund issue: Colleges of Agriculture need to be beneficiary of Tetfund intervention. Since their erroneous removal from the intervention in 2011, they have not witnessed any infrastructural and facilities development unlike their counterparts in universities, polytechnics and colleges of education in the country,” he lamented.
He stressed the need to strengthen ARCN and Agricultural Research Institutes for effective synergy, team work and research collaborations by restructuring ARCN and amend its act to reflect global agricultural best practices.
“Agricultural institutions in Nigeria need to be strengthened with robust research grants and interventions and increase farmer/extension agent’s ratio. This will tackle limiting factors in agricultural development and pave the way for economic recovery/transformation and poverty reduction in Nigeria,”
Dr Akande said.