Provide conducive environment for agriculture to thrive, ex-minister urges FG
A former Minister of Defence, Mr Tokunbo Kayode, has advised the Federal Government to provide an enabling environment for agriculture to thrive in the country.
Kayode, now a farmer, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Ikaram-Akoko, Ondo State.
According to him, the money earmarked for farmers is inadequate without other inputs such as fertiliser, improved seedlings, harrows and harvesters.
“Government can help, not with money alone, but it can create an enabling environment for agriculture to thrive.
“Government’s investment in agriculture has never worked perfectly and it will not work.
“Only the private sector can drive it well,” Kayode, also a former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, said.
He advised governments at the state level to challenge commissioners for agriculture, special advisers on agriculture and council chairmen on the development of the agriculture sector.
Kayode said he had over 150 hectares of land on which he planted palm trees, cassava and banana.
He, however, lamented that inspite of his farm being over four years old, it had not been visited by any government official.
“Government at the state level gets a lot of inputs from the Federal Government.
“Make sure it gets to those that need the materials; don’t sit down in Akure or conference room of Ministry of Agriculture and be telling farmers to come for it. It can’t work.
“Go to serious farms, take inventory, ask what their problems are, and where government can help.
“Under the Land Use Act, local government can give land of up to 500hectares for farming; but the state government has taken away the power from them.
“It is illegal and unconstitutional,” he said.