A businessman, Dumebi Kachikwu, on Thursday criticised local government chairmen and the leaders of the All Local Governments Association of Nigeria, ALGON, for shunning a program they co-hosted.
The event, tagged “1st International Seminar on Comprehensive Local Agriculture Plan, C-LAP”, which was co-hosted by Mr. Kachikwu’s firm, Accelerated Building Technology Ltd, opened in Abuja on Thursday.
Mr. Kachikwu said the action demonstrated how local governments are being oppressed and how some persons in leadership positions prioritise less important things over what is of benefit to the people.
Mr. Kachikwu said it was time for local governments to free themselves from subservience to other tiers of government by harnessing their economic potentials such as farming.
He lamented that despite invitation to 774 local governments and the importance of the seminar to them, only a few chairmen attended the event.
“How can we make progress when people who are meant to take the lead in driving development in their areas do not take it serious?”
Mr. Kachikwu said the idea of C-LAP was to gather data and provide plans for local farms. He said C-LAP started out of a personal farming project he was to start in Delta State.
While lamenting the rising cases of unemployment, Mr. Kachikwu said through C-LAP, farming can be developed to alleviate poverty in Nigeria.
States, LGs, individuals donate land
At the end of the first day of the event, state governments, local governments and individuals contributed land as sign of commitment to the C-LAP project.
The pieces of land will be used to develop facilities in the value chain of agriculture, including demonstration farms, food parks and agricultural institutes.
Highest donation of 1,700 hectares came from Ugbodu Local Government Area of Delta State for the establishment of a proposed university of agriculture.
Adamawa and Gombe states donated 20 hectares each for the grassroots farming initiative, while Yobe and Kaduna states contributed 10 hectares each.
Dekina and Ankpa local governments in Kogi State donated 30 and 20 hectares respectively.
Shera in Bauchi State, Jahun in Jigawa and Orolu in Osun state announced donation of 20 hectares each.
Karshi Local Government Area in Nasarawa State donated 10 hectares while an individual from Sanga Local Government Area in Kaduna State gave out 10 hectares.
The Organizing Secretary of the seminar, Tanay Joshi, said progress of any nation is ensured by agriculture, which ensures balance of trade.
“Nigeria has experienced challenges in agriculture and this can be attributed to the oil boom. Nigeria should not just depend on oil. Over the years, Nigeria was once second largest producer of cocoa, and leading in production of many other produce,” he said.
He however lamented that Nigeria has poor policy plan for agriculture.
Mr. Joshi said any policy not backed with the right planning and comprehensive local agriculture plan, would not achieve maximum set goals.
He said technology and enlightenment are key to improvement in agriculture.
“Considering the farmers first is the watch word for C-LAP. We have outlined range of products that exist in Africa that can be introduced to local farmers.”