President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan, has decried Nigeria’s poor performance in the area of Agricultural Research and Development.
Lawan made this known in his concluding remarks after the Senate considered a bill that seeks to amend the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria Act.
According to the Senate President, given the number of specialized agricultural institutes in the country, Nigerian farmers should have access to technology needed to make farming easy.
“I want to say that we are doing very poorly in the area of agricultural research and development.
“It is a very bad commentary that our farmers have to still dry tomatoes and peppers, which is an open sort of drying.
“They put them along roads, or sometimes just sweep hard surfaces. It is not acceptable, ware not making serious progress.
“We should at least have very simple technology that can help our people. We don’t have to go for something very big, that our farmers can use to enhance their performance.
“Even though we have almost 22 or 23 research institutes in the country, most of them specialized, and some of them are supposed to be funded by the rice research in Pategi Local Government Area, Kwara State.
“There is supposed to be money for rice development, sugar, palm oil and these kind of things.
“We need to fund the agricultural sector, especially those institutions that will improve our performance as a country,” Lawan said.
Earlier, sponsor of the bill for an Act to amend the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria, Senator Abdullahi Adamu (APC – Nasarawa West), said the piece of legislation would provide comprehensive guide for National Agricultural Research Programmes and Project Management.
According to the lawmaker, despite contributing 21 percent to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the agricultural sector operates below its potential because research institutes are not coordinated and strengthened.
“The agricultural sector currently employs a significant portion of the Labour force, and contributes about 21 percent to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“Ironically, in spite of this, agricultural resource and technical endowment as well as interventions by successive administrations, Nigerian agricultural sector has been operating far below its potential because the research institutes or centers are not well coordinated and strengthened,” Adamu said.
He added that, “agriculture is driven by technologies, which are in turn generated by research.
“Agriculturally advances countries are only so advanced because of a workable and well-funded agricultural research system.”
The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, referred the bill which scaled second reading to the Committee on Agriculture for further legislative work.