By Arc Kabir Ibrahim
The annual National Council on Agriculture is normally convened in the first quarter or at the most in April when the farmers are preparing to embark on working the land but certainly not in December when they are harvesting and marketing their produce.
The first quarter timing of the National event is designed to really impact the budget and policy implementation of the following year and therefore attracts all stakeholders.
The 36 states and FCT are all represented so that the Agricultural policy implementation is uniform all over the nation especially noting that Agricultural Production essentially takes place in the states.
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Memoranda from all States, MDAs, NGOs such as AFAN, and other Stakeholders are received and scrutinized so that a communique is issued at the conclusion of deliberations at the council so as to inform the nation of the far-reaching decisions made.
The National food system will be impacted deeply and evenly because the National Agricultural policy will be implemented by all the states uniformly as they are carried along in the policy process or formulation.
If, however, the council is convened after every state has done its annual budget there will definitely be chaos in policy decisions which will lead to incoherence and divergence in policy implementation.
Usually, a theme is proposed around the policy thrust desired and discussions or memoranda would sprout from it thereby evolving a coherent policy implementation.
This year, unfortunately, there is a departure from the norm and therefore everything is choreographed to fail.
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There are far too many events such as Value Chain Development in Association with IFAD, Extension W/Shops without farmers, Agribusiness without Agritrade anchored by AgroNigeria and all slated for year-end by the FMARD and therefore planned, obviously, to spend all the money meant for capacity building of the farmers.
This is certainly a charade and it is not to be allowed to see the light of day. For this goof to happen it means that there is no solid Technical advice reaching the management of the FMARD or it may be largely ignored.
The President should stop the event and interrogate it to find out the truth as this development will certainly do a lot of damage to his focus and expectations for Agriculture going forward.
Arc Kabir Ibrahim is the National President of All Farmers Association of Nigeria, AFAN, wrote in from Katsina, Katsina State.
Vanguard News Nigeria
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