By Bukola Olaifa
Sen. Saliu Mustapha, Chairman, Senate Committee on Agriculture, Production Services, and Rural Development, has affirmed the committee’s commitment to expeditiously passing the Agricultural Extension Services Delivery Revitalisation Bill.
Mustapha made this assurance during a one-day technical session held in Abuja on Wednesday, organised by the Women Farmers Advancement Network and country representatives (WOFAN-ICON2) project.
The proposed bill aims to facilitate the effective implementation of a national agricultural extension policy and strategy, ensuring sustainable agricultural extension services in the country.
Additionally, it seeks to foster human resource development, career progression, and professionalism in agricultural extension, encouraging increased participation and investment in agriculture, especially by women and youth.
While acknowledging the bill’s ongoing progress, Mustapha emphasised the importance of incorporating digital agriculture essential services, aligning with global advancements in agricultural extension.
He also highlighted the necessity of enriching the draft bill by considering experiences from other jurisdictions for wider applicability and long-term effectiveness.
Mustapha expressed his intent to collaborate with fellow National Assembly members to garner the necessary attention and broaden the scope of the bill.
He emphasised the potential impact on farmers’ lives, particularly in rural areas, stating that a well-functioning agricultural sector could significantly alleviate the country’s existing challenges, reducing them by 70 to 80 per cent.
Dr Salamatu Garba, Founder of WOFAN-ICON2, explained that the objective behind promoting the bill was to enhance the agricultural sector’s growth.
“If passed, it would signify the federal government’s commitment to allocating a specific percentage of resources to agriculture, thereby boosting the backbone of the economy”.
Garba highlighted the potential consequences of passing the bill, envisioning increased food production in Nigeria and a subsequent reduction in food prices.
She stressed the need to address the deficiencies in Nigeria’s agricultural extension system, expressing optimism that the bill would propel positive changes.
Prof. Sani Miko, Chairman, WOFAN Technical Advisory Board on Policy Change and Advisory Services, elucidated on the bill’s benefits for youths and women.
He emphasised its role in promoting a robust information and communication and knowledge management system for agricultural extension services. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng).
Edited by Mark Longyen/Isaac Aregbesola