Senate vows speedy passage of agricultural extension services bill

Sen. Saliu Mustapha, Chairman, Senate Committee on Agriculture, Production Services and Rural Development, has assured of the speedy passage of agricultural extension services delivery revitalisation bill.

Mustapha gave the assurance at a one-day technical session on the draft agricultural extension service delivery revitalisation bill organised by Women Farmers Advancement Network and country representatives (WOFAN-ICON2) project in Abuja on Wednesday.

The bill aims at ensuring effective implementation of a  national agricultural extension policy and strategy sustainable agricultural extension service in the country.

It also aims to promote human resource development, career progression, and professionalism in agricultural extension and encourage women and youth to actively participate and invest in agriculture.

Mustapha said although the bill was still in progress, the legislation on the bill would improve the lives of farmers, especially in the rural areas.

“With the advancement in technology and global development of agricultural extension service around the world, it is my expectation that the draft bill should as much as practicable incorporate digital agriculture essential service as it is done in other countries.

“There is need to expand the scope of the technical committee by enriching the draft bill with other jurisdictions in order to have the wider application and stand the test of time,” he said.

Mustapha said that he would discuss with his  colleagues in the National Assembly to give the bill the needed attention and a wider scope.

“We’re also looking at opportunities because the most important thing is adding value and making sure it is practicable and works.

“So, the most important thing is the value addition to make sure because for me we should start thinking of how agriculture should be a means of livelihood.

“With the insecurity we have in the country today, if agriculture is working the way it ought to, it will have reduced the problem by 70 to 80 per cent of it,” Mustapha  said.

Dr Salamatu Garba, Founder, WOFAN-ICON2, said the aim for pushing the bill was to grow the agricultural sector.

“We’re pushing it from just a policy document to make sure that the Senate and the National Assembly, understand and absorb so that it can be translated into a bill and later may become an act.

She said if the bill was passed, it meant that the  federal government would have a particular percentage dedicated to agriculture, which is the backbone of the economy.

According to her, this will go a long way to  increase  food production in Nigeria and further reduce food will not be expensive anymore.

“Imagine buying a bag of rice for 65,000 , in a country like this, where some people earn just about  40,000 per month.

“To be honest, the agricultural extension system in Nigeria needs a lot of reawakening and this bill will help push the process forward, ” she said.

The Chairman, WOFAN Technical Advisory Board on Policy Change and Advisory Services, Prof. Sani Miko, explained that the bill had a lot of offers for both the youths and women, which would open the horizon for the sector.

According to him, the bill seeks to promote and support a robust information and communication and a knowledge management system for agricultural extension service.

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