Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, has expressed disappointment over the underperformance of agricultural researchers in Nigeria despite the country’s struggle with food insecurity.
Lawan made the observation on the floor of the upper chamber of the National Assembly in Abuja while considering the Bill for an Act to Amend the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria during a plenary session.
Senator representing Nasarawa West, Abdullahi Adamu, had sponsored the Bill to improve agricultural research in the country.
However, Lawan described as bad the poor use of technology among Nigerian farmers.
He added that with some 23 specialised agricultural research institutes, the country should be able to boast of at least local technologies to aid food production.
He said, “It is a very bad commentary that our farmers have to still dry tomatoes and peppers, which is open sort of drying.
“They put them along roads, or sometimes just sweep hard surfaces. It is not acceptable we are not making serious progress.
“We should at least have very simple technology that can help our people. We don’t have to go for something very big that our farmers can use to enhance their performance.”
The senator also restated the need for adequate funding of the sector, adding that Nigeria only budgeted N183.08 billion for agriculture this year, which is just 1.73% of the total annual budget of over 10 trillion.
“We need to fund the agricultural sector especially those institutions that will improve our performance as a country,” he added.
On his part, Adamu noted that the proposed legislation would provide a comprehensive guide for National Agricultural Research Programmes and Project Management.
The lawmaker pointed out that the agricultural sector plays a critical role in Nigeria’s economy, further pointing out that the sector contributes about 21% to Nigeria’s total Gross Domestic Product.
The sector also employs a significant portion of Nigeria’s labour force, he added.