After the lapse of the Agricultural Promotion Policy (APP) which ran for four years from 2016 to 2020, the Federal Government is set to develop another National Agricultural Technology and Innovation Policy (NATIP) to cover the period from 2021 to 2025.
NATIP will be saddled with the responsibility of:
- providing an integrated approach to agricultural development in terms of access to and application of improved input.
- improving linkage between agricultural research and training institutions.
- enhancing the provision of input to farmers.
- improving agricultural mechanization and extension services.
- providing rural infrastructure
- increasing access to affordable funding.
- ensuring climate change management.
- ensuring sustainable agriculture and nutrition.
- ensuring security of agricultural land and investments.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Mahmood Abubakar, disclosed this recently, while speaking to journalists in Abuja. He said that as a result of the government’s various policy initiatives and innovative funding in food and agriculture, the sector has increasingly witnessed growth.
“It is indeed as a result of our actions that in the past three years, Nigeria took the leading role globally in the production of cassava, yam, maize, palm oil and rice. Nigeria has become the largest producer of rice in Africa with a production level of over nine million metric tonnes from 2019,” he said.
He reiterated the government’s aim to be fully self-sufficient in rice and other crops that provide food for Nigerians. In the area of capacity building, he said a total of 2.2 million farmers, especially youths and women, had been trained and empowered on different agricultural value chains and that the exercise was still ongoing as it is the ministerial mandate to train and deploy 75,000 agricultural extension workers.
The Country Representative of the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), Fred Kafeero, called for targeted interventions in research and development to make farming more technologically advanced. He stressed the need for re-skilling young people and improving literacy rate among women farmers. According to him, apart from assuring quality and enough food for everyone, functioning food systems will also ensure a sustained environment, which is key to the development of the present and future generations.
In another development, the Advertisers Association of Nigeria (ADVAN) has rejected the implementation of the new Advertising Industry Standard of Practice (AISOP) guidelines. On Monday 18 October 2021, Nigeria’s heads of advertising agencies announced the new regulations in a joint statement. The signatories included the President, Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria (AAAN), Mr. Steve Babaeko; President, Media Independent Practitioners Association of Nigeria (MIPAN), Mr. Femi Adelusi. Others were President, Outdoor Advertising Association of Nigeria (OAAN), Mr. Emmanuel Ajufo and President, Experiential Marketers Association of Nigeria (EXMAN), Tunji Adeyinka.
The bodies said the effective date for AISOP implementing is October 6, the date of pronouncement by the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON). But ADVAN said it makes an unconstitutional attempt to infringe on the rights of private entities to determine their contractual terms.
In a statement on Tuesday the 19th, ADVAN Acting President, Bunmi Adeniba said ADVAN is supportive of the plan to create a Standard of Practice.
Adeniba, however, noted that the Supreme Court had, in many decisions, pronounced that the rationale for freedom of contract is founded on public policy. This means that parties of full age and competent understanding are deemed to have the utmost liberty of contracting, and that their contracts when entered freely and voluntarily must be held sacred and be enforced by courts of law.
Adeniba said as principal benefactors of advertising services, ADVAN’s input in AISOP was yet to be fully on boarded. “The guidelines are void of critical elements that protect the rights and interest of the ADVAN community”, she declared.
Adeniba insisted that the guidelines do not serve the collective interest, but rather permit unfair authority of certain parties over others and create an unfriendly business framework. “They portray a clear indication of discriminatory standards where the AISOP document in section 5 sub section b (Discounts and Commissions) states that:“no party will unilaterally dictate or impose rates on another party except as may be mutually agreed by upon by the parties. However, in the summary submitted to the press, there is a clause that states: “Media rates may be increased at any time provided that at least 30 days’ notice is given prior to implementation”. This was not included in the original documents, further portraying an inconsistency in expectation.
“ADVAN requests that in all instances, the condition of mutually agreed terms by both parties be upheld and not only as it applies to expectations from advertisers.” The statement said the government has a specific and critical role in supporting industry development by providing fair and enabling legislation and guidelines for ethical business practices.
The association demanded that the involvement should not overrule the constitutional rights of business entities to conduct legitimate business activities. “The perception of a discriminatory regulatory system will be counterproductive to the collective objective of creating a conducive business environment”, Adeniba added.