*Urges National Assembly to energise the sector
Alhaji Nuhu Lawal Umar, Kaigaman Zazzau who is the Kaduna State president of the Commercial Agricultural Development Association (CADA), has called on federal legislators to consider setting up an agricultural trust fund to re-energise the nation’s comatose research institutions.
According to him, agricultural research in Nigeria started more than 100 years ago with the establishment of a botanical garden in Lagos but has died out with the sharp fall in public spending in agricultural research.
“Public spending in agricultural research which started more than 100 years ago has declined sharply over the years with the current level of expenditure to support agriculture standing at just around 4 per cent which is very inadequate given the place of the sector in the nation,” he said.
“Undoubtedly, our national economy will never improve without the full participation of the North and the only way the North can contribute meaningfully is in the agricultural sector which in turn will never thrive without stimulating research through ressurrecting the dozens of our research institutions which are now dysfunctional,” he said.
According to the Kaigama, this could only be achieved with the establishment of an agricultural trust fund to source and inject fresh funds into agricultural research so as to boost productivity.
He said the call is more of a wake up call to northern legislators since: “90percent of research institutions are in north and almost dead today. The fund if established, will empower more research into modern technology for tackling issues such as pest and plant disease control.
It will help farmers and will help the north since there will not be success in agriculture without research institutions to conduct beneficial researches to achieve significant improvement in agricultural productivity, marketing and competitiveness through generation of appropriate technologies, policy options and knowledge management,” Kaigama said.