APRA Seeks Strong Policy Support For Medium Scale Farming In Ogun, Others - THE DAILY CRUCIBLE

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Friday, November 26, 2021

APRA Seeks Strong Policy Support For Medium Scale Farming In Ogun, Others





| The Daily Crucible | Published Friday, November 26, 2021

The need to to enhance medium-scale farming as a pathway to inclusive agricultural commercialization and improved livelihood outcomes for farm families across Nigeria for the crux of the recent gathering of farmers and community leaders in Ogun State.

The two separate stakeholders meetings at the palace of Onimeko of Imeko in Imeko - Afon Local Government Area of the State and later in Ogbere, the Headquarters of Ijebu East Local Government Area, were meant for research finding disseminations. 

The workshop was organized by the Agricultural Policy Research in Africa (APRA), a research consortium funded by Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), UK. 

The country coordinator of the programme in Nigeria, Prof Adebayo Aromolaran, of Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko, reiterated the APRA' focus on working with key Nigerian stakeholders in agricultural and rural development to identify strategies for helping to improve the livelihoods of farm families, women, and youths across Nigeria.

Aromolaran said the project seeks to  provide research-based evidence to support the need for concrete changes in the food and agricultural systems of Nigeria. 

He explained that APRA Nigeria Work Stream 1 research team has been working in Imeko Afon, Obafemi Owode and Ijebu East LGAs of Ogun State and chikun, kachia and soba LGAs of Kaduna state since 2018. 

The research project, according to him, is focused on investigating the potential opportunities and challenges associated with medium-scale farming as a pathway to inclusive agricultural commercialization and improved livelihood outcomes for farm families across Nigeria.

He noted that less than 6 percent  of small-scale farms in the Ogun and Kaduna states had stepped up to medium scale (5 hectares and above) in the past several decades due to poor access to land and complementary inputs for expansion.

 He  said findings have shown that interactions of medium scale farms with small scale farms around them could increase the productivity and incomes of small-scale farms and reduced poverty among them.

The country coordinator also pointed out that certain cultural and socio-economic constraints were preventing women and youths from cultivating commercial tree crops, which have the potential to improve their livelihoods substantially. 

He further stated that increased access to land and labour markets, extension services, all-weather roads, and agro-dealer services were found to be  major drivers of agricultural commercialization in Nigeria.

According to him, if the aforemention challenges are well addressed, a significant number of farm families in Nigeria will move out of poverty. 

Onimeko of Imeko, Oba Benjamin Olanite, represented by Chief Segun Olaleye, appealed to APRA to put in all efforts to ensure effective implementation of their findings by policy makers at all levels of government in Nigeria.

Chief Ismail Abdulazeez and Sotunde Adeolu, both farmers’ association leaders said upgrading of farmers from small scale to medium scale level would give more hope to farm families, as this was found to result in increasing productivity and incomes.

Alhaja Risikat Adenokun, a female community leader in Ijebu East, said that a major challenge that small scale farmers face now is the underpricing of their farm produce by traders, wondering whether, the APRA study could help address this challenge. 

The meetings  gave opportunities to participants to deliberate on the various issues raised by the APRA research project and recommend the specific roles that government, private sector and  communities could play in addressing the issues. 

Participants were also informed that the output of their deliberations formed part of the issues tabled at a national stakeholder meeting organized by APRA on December 16, 2021.

 Similar stakeholders’ key findings dissemination meetings were held in chikun and Soba LGAs of Kaduna state on the 15th and 16th of November 2021.


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