The House of Representatives is targeting at least 5,000 direct and indirect jobs with the establishment of farm settlements across the country. The lawmakers are also seeking to raise funding from 10-20 percent for Agriculture from the Ecological Fund.
Its Committee on Agricultural Services has also begun additional legislative work on a bill “for an Act to Amend the National Agricultural Land Development Authority Act, 2004 to Increase its Membership and Functions for Strategic Operations and Interests and to Vest in the Authority Powers to Establish Farm Settlements across the Country for the Purposes of Attaining Food Sufficiency and to Establish the National Farm Settlement and Youth Empowerment Agency to create a Mechanised System of Farming”.
The bill, which seeks the establishment of farm settlements in Federal Constituencies in the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), is sponsored by Evelyn Oboro and two others. It passed second reading on November 1, 2017. Members supported the bill saying it aligns with the current focus of the federal government to diversify the economy and create jobs for an estimated five thousand unemployed youths.
Oboro, who represents Okpe/Sapele/Uvwie Federal Constituency of Delta State, said apart from the job component of the bill, the element of lack of standardisation of food exports would be taken care of. In a chat with reporters at the weekend, she said: “We have been talking about diversifying the economy of our great nation and agriculture is the main area we are looking at.
“The funding of the agency is just 10 percent from the Ecological Funds. We are asking that it be moved up to 20 percent. It has nothing to do with the Federal Government budget.
“Not only that, we’re also asking for farm settlements in different constituencies across the country as well as a law backing the establishment of farm settlements where large and medium up-takers can do business with female and young farmers, will go a long way in stemming the rural- urban drift as well as reduce poverty in low income communities.”