Stakeholders in the agriculture sector in Bauchi and Gombe states have resolved to work together to address the gaps in agricultural extension service delivery towards improving livelihoods of smallholder farmers.
The stakeholders comprising lawmakers, permanent secretaries, programme managers, experts, government officials, members of the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and the media, among others, made this known at a meeting organised under the framework of the Together Against Poverty (TAP) project, the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) with support from Oxfam.
They advocated for more investment in agricultural production potential towards economic growth and improved livelihoods policy and implementation of unified agricultural extension services for increased productivity and better living standards of small-scale farmers.
In a key note address, the Speaker, Bauchi State House of Assembly, Abubakar Suleman, called on legislators to develop laws that would support agricultural policies, stating that poor implementation of policies was hindering agricultural development in the country.
“We know that if there are existing laws even with changes in government there will be continuity,” the speaker said.
Also speaking, representative of the Bauchi State Agricultural Development Programme (BSADP), Abubakar Jafaru Ilelah, lamented that adequate extension staff was creating a gap between the extension services and the farmers in the state.
He said the Bauchi state government had concluded arrangements to recruit extension agents to fill the gap and appealed to the legislators and the policy makers to expedite actions to save the plight of smallholder farmers in the state.
On his part, the Programme Manager, Gombe State Agricultural Development Programme, Mr Maina Awan, said that the government had given the programme huge financial support as small scale farmers were given support in various areas to boost their production within the state to ensure food security.
Earlier, Executive Director CISLAC, Auwal Rafsanjani, represented by Mr Chinedu Bassey, explained that the engagement was to advance opportunities for the effective implementation of agricultural development programmes, including the adoption and adaptation (domestication) of the National Agricultural Extension Policy.