By Hassan Haruna Ginsau
Delegates to the on-going National conference yesterday adopted a recommendation by its committee on agriculture and water resources proposing that 50% of the Nigeria’s natural resources fund be channelled towards the development of agriculture and water resources in the country.
The recommendation if implemented by the Federal Government (FG) as contained in the conference’s final report would see 30% of the country’s resources development fund going to agricultural development, while 20% would go to water resources development.
The fund, which warehouses 1.68% of balance in the Federation account, is designed to service the country’s minerals sector as a means of divesting from crude oil exploration and opening other avenues for revenue generation.
During yesterday’s morning session which was chaired by the conference’s secretary Valerie Azinge, delegates also agreed for the need to emphasise horticulture as a part of agricultural production for income generation, both internally and for foreign exchange earnings.
In a bid to provide a strong alternative in settling of disputes between farmers and herdsmen, delegates agreed that the traditional institution should be primarily responsible for conflict resolution between the two parties, however in the event that resolution failed, alternative dispute resolution centres should be their’ last resort.
The conference also adopted a recommendation calling on the FG to enhance the availability of enhanced seedlings to farmers, and also for authorities to return river basin authorities to the intentions which they were originally established.
In promotion of local goods, the conference adopted a recommendation stating that the FG create a policy on agricultural trade to promote agricultural exports and production of food materials locally to discourage importation. It also agreed that a policy for infrastructure development be made to provide infrastructure as part of general rural development so that basic amenities be provided to rural communities for agricultural development.
During the session, all recommendations and amendments regarding land use were bracketed by the conference’s leadership due to the dispute the topic had previously caused.
In addition, the conference called on the FG to involve farmers and rural dwellers in the design and implementation of policies.