Following its 65th Regular Meeting in Abuja, the National Committee of Heads of Colleges of Agriculture and Related Disciplines (NACHCARD), has urged the federal government to reevaluate its proposal to lease accessible lands in their universities for food production.

The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security’s (FMAFS) request for information on the amount of land available for food production in the colleges was welcomed, and this was one of the meeting’s important resolutions. To avoid future invasion by land grabbers, the committee stressed that the government should give money and resources to the institutions rather than leasing their grounds to other parties.

The committee advised the FMAFS to utilise and patronise the colleges for training in agriculture and executing farmers’ and extension workers’ programmes.

A communiqué at the end of the meeting “observed with dismay the reduction in students’ intake into colleges of agriculture recently as a result of lowering of JAMB cutoffs for universities, and the increasing number of polytechnics mounting agricultural courses.

“The committee is of the opinion that if this trend continues, it will not only undermine the basis for creating these colleges in the first place, but also jeopardise government’s efforts at encouraging youths to take up agriculture as business, as well as the food security efforts of the government.

“The committee calls upon the government to inaugurate the board of NADFUND for speedy operational commencement in order to enhance the effectiveness of the emergency declared on food security, and also advocated that agricultural colleges at federal and state levels be given top priority in fund allocation as these colleges were erroneously excluded from tertiary institutions enjoying TetFund since 2010.

The NACHCARD “observed that application portals of some government agencies, especially military and paramilitary, do not include the names of monotechnics in the list of tertiary institutions in the country, thereby denying our graduates who are qualified the opportunity to participate in their recruitment exercises. The committee appeals for inter-ministerial dialogue to resolve the issue.”

The meeting also resolved that there should be harmonization in the scheme and conditions of service of colleges of agriculture and related disciplines.

Source: ViewPoint Housing