Bindir Advocates Implementable, Sustainable Agricultural Policy In Nigeria
An agricultural technologist, Umar Bindir, an engineer, has advocated the adoption of implementable and sustainable agricultural policy to drive the nation’s economy.
Bindir, who made the advocacy while delivering the 25th Convocation Lecture at the University of Uyo, noted with dismay that agriculture, being the largest employer of labour, was not well-coordinated and given the priority attention required by successive administrations in the country for the best to be achieved for the collective interest of Nigerians.
The immediate past secretary to the state government (SSG) in Adamawa who delivered a lecture on The University and Knowledge Economy: Investment and Opportunity Cost (For Sustainable Development of Nigeria), regretted the inability of successive administrations in Nigeria to lead Nigerians into food sufficiency for radical industrial revolution.
The former Adamawa SSG regretted that some countries of the world like Malaysia came to Nigeria and picked palm fruit seedlings for agricultural purposes and is now one of the leading producers of oil palm internationally.
Bindir posited that Operation Feed the Nation (OFN) that was put in place from 1976 to 1980 was aimed at increasing local food production for the purpose of reducing imports.
That regime, he said, was intended to encourage citizens to cultivate available parcel of land at their disposal for the achievement of food security in the country, but regretted that the implementation failed due to dearth of sustainable policy implementation.
He said the Green Revolution (GR) and Operation Feed the Nation (OFN), being major agricultural policies of the Shehu Shagari administration and the Fourth National Development Plan were introduced in 1980 to ensure self-sufficiency in food production; introduce modern technology into the Nigerian agricultural sector largely through the introduction of modern inputs such as high yielding varieties of seeds, fertilizers and tractors.
He said laboratories and libraries that were in developed countries of the world to aid the university and lecturers to research into technological breakthrough are also available in Nigeria, and regretted that our university lecturers were only interested in budget defence.
He noted with dismay that most of the agro-allied companies in Nigeria are operating with foreigners having the greatest percentage of share capitals in these companies, while Nigerians were busy playing the ostrich game.
The Fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Engineers expressed displeasure that some of the agro-allied companies operating in the country have no sufficient raw materials to function optimally due to faulty agricultural policy by those in the corridors of power.
Bindir, alarmed that the manual process of cultivating cassava in Nigeria were also applied in processing and in consuming the produce, noted that for Nigeria to make any headway in agriculture, all hands must be on deck through the application of implementable and sustainable policy.
The vice chancellor, University of Uyo, Professor Enefiok Essien, while responding, described the content of the lecture as a challenge to Nigerian universities, the government and the Nigerian public.
Essien said the main objective of the university was to produce knowledge-based technologies for the benefit of all and sundry, assuring that the authorities of the University of Uyo have taken something home from the convocation lecture for action.
He used the occasion to emphasize on the need to publicize indigenous innovations for the collective interest and patronage by government and the people.