Provost, Oyo State College of Agriculture and Technology Igboora (OYSCATECH) Professor Gbemiga Adewale has advocated increased budgetary allocation to the agricultural sector towards reducing hunger in Nigeria.
He made the call on Thursday during the inaugural lecture series 28 held at Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) in Ogbomoso.
Adewale, a professor of Rural Sociology, said ” To attain the Sustainable Development Goals(SDG) of reducing hunger and poverty, agricultural growth must be made a priority in the nation’s development agenda through increased budgetary allocation to the sector,’’
The don in his lecture entitled ” Agricultural Development Programmes in Nigeria; Problems, Feasible Impacts and Opportunities: A Rural Sociological Perspective’ said funds must be made available for research and extension services.
According to him, “it is glaring that we need agricultural development in Nigeria and efforts have been made by the convened stakeholders. This is germane to food security, improved standard of living and poverty alleviation.
’’From my personal experience and the experiences of other scholars in the field of rural sociology, a lot needs to be done to bridge the gap of food deficit.
“This is towards making life better for the people especially in the rural areas known to be the food basket of the nation.’’
He said government had over the years formulated good agricultural policies and programmes meant to encourage food production, but were found inefficient and ineffective since their goals were not fully realized
Adewale appreciated efforts of the past and present governments on agricultural development intervention as well as the feasible impacts, adding there was still need for improvement.
“Agricultural development increases agricultural production, improves productivity and income of rural population. It also attract industries to rural areas,’’ he said.
The professor of rural sociology said that for sustainable development in the country, various intervention programmes needed to be economically feasible, adaptable and flexible to allow beneficiaries maximize the opportunities.
He recommended increased efforts in the monitoring and evaluation of Agricultural programmes in order to ensure the impact assessment was adequately and regularly measured.
“Government must ensure provision and maintenance of rural infrastructure to encourage farmers. The use of bottom-top approaches should be encouraged in determining the needs of farmers.
“Farmers’ participation in intervention programmes should be enhanced. Succeeding governments at all levels should continue with the agricultural development programmes inherited from their predecessors,’’ he said.
Adewale called for collaborative efforts of government and non-governmental organizations in the interest of the farmers while also bringing a turnaround in the sector.
He added that agriculture which was the major occupation of the rural dwellers must be sustained; saying impacts of agriculture development must be measured by sociological indicators.
“The indicators show the true wellbeing of the agricultural producers instead of the quantitative measures that may not indicate the actual improvement in the quality of agricultural producers’ lives,’’ he said.
The lecture was attended by Prof. Michael Ologunde, the institution’s Vice Chancellor, management staff, family members and other well wishers