The bill will have to be approved by the House and signed by the president to become law.
The Senate has approved the establishment of the National Agricultural Development Fund for the purpose of providing finance to support strategic aspects of agricultural development of Nigeria.
This followed the clause by clause consideration of the report presented by the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development by the lawmakers during plenary on Wednesday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the chairman of the committee, Abdullahi Adamu, had earlier presented the report adding that the Bill was read for the second time on Wednesday, March 4, 2020.
According to him, the Bill seeks to promote and provide for finance to support agriculture development in the country in order to ensure food production and food security in Nigeria.
“Also to provide finance for the implementation of policies and to strengthen agricultural institutions.
“It also seeks to encourage donor institutions to provide funding for the agriculture sector to ensure increased food production,” Mr Adamu said.
The lawmaker noted that it was already acknowledged that the major bane of agricultural sector in Nigeria and Sub-Saharan Africa was inadequate funding.
“To date, Nigeria is yet to fully implement the 2003 Maputo declaration on Agriculture requiring states, parties to allocate ten per cent of its national budget for agricultural development.
“If this was done, agriculture research and development, food production and food security would have witnessed a major leap,” he said.
He said the Bill therefore showed that the availability of the fund would meet these requirements among others.
“With government’s commitment to make agriculture the mainstay of our economy, it is only right to make enabling laws for the purpose of providing sustainable funding for agriculture development in Nigeria,” he said.
This, he said, would be to take into consideration the critical need to address food production and food security, job creation and international competitiveness in agriculture sector in Nigeria.
In his remarks, the Senate president, Ahmad Lawan, said with the passage of the Bill, “it is important it gets the President’s signature”.
He said the establishment of the National Agricultural Development Fund would transform the Nigerian economy and ensure job creation.
The Fund would provide emergency support for agricultural control rural access to financing of a transboundary animal disease outbreak; support service through microfinance and collaborate with development partners to support food security and agricultural modernisation and competitiveness.