From Bianca Iboma
To ensure food safety, agriculturist and founder of Uplifting Women Through Farming (UWTF), a non-governmental organisation convened by Afoma Adigwe, has charged the Federal Government to use recovered looted funds for agricultural development.
Adigwe who participated at the just concluded World Food Festival conference (THAIFEX), held in Thailand said that the nation’s aggregate food supply must increase tremendously so as to put an end to the harsh economic situation confronting it at the moment.
“Nigeria needs another way to raise the quantity of agricultural produce and supply within the next few years through various agricultural projects and programmes in order to internally boost food supply,” Adigwe said.
She stated that the Federal Government needs to intensify its funding efforts in developing the agricultural sector, adding: “I participated in this year’s THAIFEX Food Festival and it again dawned on me that Nigeria is lagging behind in terms of food security. We really need to address this. This is another golden opportunity for our government to help farmers so we can feed the nation from our soil.
“We have lands but what farmers are asking for is support from the government. We have what it takes to grow rice that will feed us all and even export to other countries. I spoke with some investors in Thailand and they are all willing to come and invest in our agricultural sector.”
Adigwe said government should give farmers a bail out fund so that they can increase productivity through agriculture banks, microfinace banks and agriculture-based cooperative societies.
She added that agriculture needs a vigorously implemented strategic plan on food security and development of commodities such as rice, wheat, groundnut.
Investment experts decry delay in implementation of BRISIN projects
From Dennis Mernyi, Abuja
The delay by the Federal Government in implementing the Basic Registry and Information System in Nigeria (BRISIN), is holding back foreign investors and the European Union (EU) in confirming their participation in the scheme.
The Head of BRISIN International team from Italy, Prof. Vincenzo Naso, at a stakeholders’ meeting in Abuja, urged the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma to expedite action on the project to put Nigeria on a rapid economic development page.
Prof. Naso and his team were in Nigeria for the flag off of the project, which has been on the drawing board since 2007 when an agreement was signed with Dermo Impex, the solution providers. They left for Italy with mixed feelings owing to lack of proper coordination between the Ministry and the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). “Delaying this project has caused Nigeria some reasonable setback in credibility and proper economic planning. It has negatively affected internally generated revenue, fiscal policy and management, security control and migration monitor as well as provision of social welfare services.
“I have the strong opinion that the continued delay of this project is dangerous and your government cannot afford to allow other smaller African countries move ahead while you keep watching without taking the necessary steps developed countries took to get to where they are today,” Naso told the Minister.
He expressed regret that prospective investors may reconsider their participation in the project unless the Federal Government shows enough commitment by releasing funds for the pilot scheme in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
“We are very enthusiastic and convinced on the viability of this project. Our presence at this meeting is to fast-track the release of project funds and flag off so that we can activate numerous foreign investments and international financial participation that would increase employment opportunities and allow Nigerians to start benefiting from this great system,” Naso said.
Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma, described the project as very useful to proper planning and organised development. He promised to ensure its prompt implementation as soon as he receives the report of the technical team supervised by the Statistician General of the Federation.
Head of BRISIN implementation in Nigeria, Dr. Anthony Uwa, described the scheme as “one instrument that guarantees security, job creation, social services and welfare, justice and equity, economic monitoring and control, good fiscal policy and discipline, good governance and rapid democratic development. For me and Nigerians in Diaspora, BRISIN cannot be delayed even for one day if this government must make the change.”