Dr Yakubu Ugwolawo, the President of industry body the National Agricultural Production Cooperative Union of Nigeria (NAPCUN) has called on the federal government to give farmers a greater say in agricultural policy-making. Notore CEO, Onajite Okoloko, discusses how this could enhance our agricultural sector as, when you give those on the ground a say, everybody wins.

Collaborating for success

Speaking at a meeting of the NAPCUN in Abuja, Dr Ugwolawo argued the government needs to seek advice from farmers when forming agricultural policy, to ensure regulation allows them to produce healthy yields and enable food security. He also noted that the federal funds allocated to agriculture have been diversified exactly because the nation’s farmers have not taken a role in policy-making.

Commenting, Mr Okoloko said: “If agriculture funds are diversified, there is less money in the budget to build the infrastructure and supply the technology our nation’s farmers require to produce plentiful harvests. It may be advantageous for the federal government to collaborate more actively with local farmers across the nation in the days to come, because they know what issues need to be tackled, meaning they can help create the effective policy needed to foster agricultural growth.”

Listening to the people

We recognise that if you listen to the people your decisions affect, you can implement strategies to improve their lives, and we actively follow this philosophy. We have a Village Promoter programme where we take local farmers and train them how to use our improved seeds, so they can help their local communities make the most of them and boost crop yields. This initiative allows us to get close to our customers and use the insight they provide us to improve the service we supply.

Dr Ugwolawo echoed the idea that if you allow farmers to air opinions conveniently, the agricultural sector could benefit. He suggested that the authorities should supply a platform to aid farmer participation in agricultural policy-making, by encouraging farmers’ cooperative societies. This, he elaborated, would also provide the organisation necessary for our farmers to benefit more from federal agricultural programmes, such as the government’s current efforts to make us a self-sufficient rice cultivator by 2018 by supplying tech such as rice reaper machines to maximise production.

Improving access to resources 

The NAPCUN President also outlined a range of other proposals which could promote efficiency in Nigeria’s agricultural industry. This included increasing cooperation among farmers to raise production through collaboration – something our Village Promoter programme achieves by training farmers to share knowledge with their local colleagues, and ensuring that agricultural products such as fertilisers always reach farmers, so they have the resources necessary to cultivate strong harvests.

We are dedicated to ensuring the improved fertilisers we supply – which are engineered to facilitate maximum crop yield, reach our customers, to bring this proposal to fruition. Notore has developed a robust distribution chain, where we partner with only the most reputable of firms, such as transporters, so customers in even the most remote of locations can use our fertilisers.

Boosting Nigerian agriculture

Continuing, Mr Okoloko said: “It is key that we put farmers first, if we hope to capitalise on our agricultural potential, improve crop yields for staple foods such as rice and cassava, and enable both stable food supplies and increased economic growth in our country. We aim to facilitate customer needs across our operations, using the insight we gain on the ground when training Village Promoters, to ensure that our country’s farmers can benefit from our produce and boost our agriculture sector.”

Industry union calls on government to give farmers a voice in policy
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