‘Under-investment in Agricultural Research, Bane of Productivity, Growth’

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Kasim Sumaina in Abuja

President, Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN)Dr. Antony Onoja has said that significant decline in the rate of agricultural productivity growth could be attributed to underinvestment in researches that promote productivity in developing countries.

Onoja also stated that the panacea for agricultural growth in Nigeria is an increase in research investment in the sector, saying “only this would lead to agricultural productivity and productivity growth on the long run.”

He disclosed this at the APRNet 3rd national stakeholders forum with the theme: ‘The Role of Government in Promoting Quality Agricultural Research to Grow the Nigerian Agricultural Industry: Lessons from Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria held recently in Abuja.

Onoja, said that the mission of ARCN is to achieve significant improvements in agricultural productivity, marketing and competitiveness by generating appropriate technologies, policy options, promoting innovation, establishing a knowledge management capacity and strengthening the agricultural research system.

According to him, “Globally, governments play critical roles in stimulating quality output to grow the agricultural industry. Development and deployment of agricultural R4D output is the critical stimulant of productivity growth in agriculture.”

“The he Agricultural sector would not attain its potential in productivity growth and the businesses volume without the active participation of the private sector.

Onoja stated that several attempts have been made to encourage private sector participation in the agricultural research sector/industry through various programmes. “Attracting private sector investments into agricultural research is more challenging than imagined.

He said, “The focus of this paper is to share some perspectives through the lens of ARCN on the role of government in promoting quality agricultural research towards the attainment of food security.

“Agricultural research for development sector is one of the areas in which the government play the important role of stimulating quality output in the Nigerian agriculture. Some of the roles performed by government to actualize quality of output capable of growing the agricultural industry in Nigeria include •Establishment and organization of public agricultural R4D institutions, funding of public agricultural R4D institutions and creating enabling environment through relevant growth stimulating policies.”

He explained that the in Nigeria, agricultural research is on the concurrent legislative list and that the implication of It is that, both Federal and the State Governments have responsibilities and critical roles to play.

He stressed that the responsibilities of government to public R4D institutions do not in any way preclude the participation of the private sector. Adding that, Government’s commitment would stimulate other key stakeholders to respond with corresponding action and this will result in the actualization of the dream of an economy that does not solely depend on oil.

According to Onoja, Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria is the main organ of government responsible for the coordination and supervision of agricultural R4D in Nigeria, but, “Notwithstanding the current and anticipated participation of private sector in agriculture and agricultural R4D, government must continue to take the lead in fulfilling its responsibilities to public agricultural R4D.”