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Sen. Uba Sani: A lasting solution to future of food security in Kaduna State, by Hattab Yahaya

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Sen. Uba Sani: A lasting solution to future of food security in Kaduna State, by Hattab Yahaya

Elections play an important role in deepening democracy in many parts of the world because they allow the governed to choose who governs them. However, an election is more than just an event; it is a process involving a variety of activities and stakeholders. One of these essential activities is campaigning.

There is absolutely no doubt that the party to beat in the 2023 Kaduna State gubernatorial elections is the APC.

Kaduna state has undergone rigorous transformation characterised by unparalleled improvements in almost all sectors over the past seven years of Governor El-Rufai’s praiseworthy leadership. The transformative drive traversed systematic phases ranging from legislative, policy and institutional reforms to human capital development and social investment. The Kaduna Urban Renewal project has accelerated the urbanisation of Kaduna and given the state an ultra-modern facelift with several infrastructural developments across every nook and cranny of the state.

As Governor Elrufai’s second term comes to an end and a new day dawns, the huge challenge for Senator Uba Sani – the Kaduna State APC Gubernatorial standard bearer, is how to sustain and build on Elrufai’s legacy of outstanding public service and impact. This is simply because a reversal of these gains in the post-2023 era will be a huge tragedy. One sector that appears to be of significant importance to Uba Sani is tapping and fully exploiting the boundless potential of the agricultural sector.

Agriculture contributed 22.35 per cent of the total Gross Domestic Product between January and March 2021. Despite its economic importance, Nigeria’s agricultural sector faces numerous challenges that reduce productivity. Poor land tenure systems, low levels of irrigation farming, climate change, and land degradation are examples of these. Others are low technology, high production costs and poor input distribution, limited financing, high post-harvest losses, and limited market access.

To address the situation, the federal government has implemented a number of initiatives and programmes, including the Agriculture Promotion Policy (APP), Nigeria-Africa Trade and Investment Promotion Programme, Presidential Economic Diversification Initiative, Economic and Export Promotion Incentives, and the Zero Reject Initiative, Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+), Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP); and Action Against Desertification.

Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, has always emphasised that agricultural development is one of the keys to the state’s growth and an avenue to fight unemployment. The governor announced during a plenary session on the mandate of governance at various levels on improving citizens’ standard of living as part of activities marking the third edition of the Kaduna Investment Summit.

He stated that the government intended to keep the state’s position as the leading producer of soya beans, ginger, millet, and potatoes. According to the governor, Kaduna state will soon become the food basket of the Northern region and the country as a whole. Given Kaduna’s competitive advantages in the sector, agriculture, as well as agri-business and agro-industry, is a top priority.

Since his assumption into office, the Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai has appealed to the people of Kaduna state to farm massively wherever they can because that is the concrete way to reduce hunger and prices of foodstuff. Concerned by the spate of unemployment in the state, he has engaged about 6,000 youths in dry-season wheat farming. The governor said it plans to get seeds for 50,000 hectares in 2017 for wheat farming just as the state will start with 5, 000 hectares this year. These and many more are some of the agricultural interventions of the current state government, and like all government projects, continuity is essential for its effectiveness and sustainability.

Senator Uba Sani has demonstrated his passion for human and social development through agro-entrepreneurship, in keeping with Governor Nasir El-Rufai’s mandate. From the start in the National Assembly, and given his understanding and knowledge of Kaduna State, he summarised his primary assignment in the Senate to address Agriculture, Security, Job Creation, Primary Healthcare, Banking, and Financial Inclusion across the country, as well as the myriad of needs affecting his constituents in Kaduna Central in particular and Kaduna State generally speaking.

He identified key LGAs in his constituency as predominantly agrarian, including Chikun, Giwa, and Birnin Gwari. Following that, he launched the Uba Sani Project to encourage and motivate farmers by providing expertise and technical know-how through the establishment of institutions of learning and training exercises, as well as influencing policies that will ease access to credit facilities for Medium and Small-Scale farmers, among other things.

He also sponsored legislation to establish a Federal College of Forestry Technology and Research in Birnin-Gwari, Kaduna State, to aid in the upscaling of our forest managers’ knowledge and skills to keep up with advances in forestry research and technology. Once fully established, the College intends to create jobs and contribute significantly to economic diversification by expanding the frontiers of agroforestry, particularly now that cashew, shea butter, mango, and guava, among other crops, are becoming prominent in Nigeria’s export list and local industrial crops.

A story from one of the beneficiaries of the Uba Sani Foundation’s agribusiness project is shared below.

“My name is Abdul Musa, and I was never a fan of agriculture. However, the year 2020 marked a significant turning point in my life and that of my family. I had only recently completed my NYSC programme, and I was still unsure about my career path. All of this changed in September 2020, when Senator Uba Sani launched the Kaduna state’s first agribusiness project through the Uba Sani Foundation and the College of Agriculture and Animal Science, Mando.

“When I first heard about the project, I was sceptical about going into farming because I desperately needed a “white-collar job.” The programme aimed to produce 100 entrepreneurs who will employ thousands in farming and poultry production across Kaduna State. I would like to state unequivocally that the Uba Sani agribusiness project has greatly benefited me over the years, having received rice farming training following my national youth service programme. I was among the first few people to adopt a new modernised approach to rice farming, thanks to the intervention of the Uba Sani agribusiness project in collaboration with the Uba Sani Foundation.

“At the moment, I don’t believe there is any work that can make me stop farming unless you send me to a place where I can’t see land, but once there is land there, I will continue farming. I now own a 10-hectare rice farm thanks to the initiative, and the seed multiplication training I and others received changed my perspective on farming.”, he said.

The programme, one of several others set up by Senator Uba Sani, across the Kaduna Central Senatorial Zone, aimed to produce 1000 entrepreneurs who will employ thousands in farming and poultry production across Kaduna State. In order for beneficiaries to operate legally, the foundation created a Business Plan and registered all of the beneficiaries’ businesses. The foundation has also kept track of their progress and helped them obtain loans through the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) and other intervention funds.

The Uba Sani agribusiness project has greatly benefited thousands over the years, having received rice farming training. Several farmers have adopted a new modernised approach to rice farming, thanks to the intervention of the Uba Sani agribusiness project in collaboration with the Uba Sani Foundation. Some old farmers who were not new to the farming process said that before the Uba Sani agribusiness project intervention, the quantity they used to get 11 to 12 bags (of 130kg each), but now they make more than 20 bags during the rainy season, and the quantities they getting are higher during the dry season.

The project not only increased the output of farmers but has also provided them and their families with a sense of empowerment.

When Uba Sani is elected governor, and this is sustained, with the states paying their counterpart fund properly, many more smallholder farmers, and communities across the entire state would benefit significantly.

Uba Sani is the most qualified and well-positioned candidate, based on verifiable and uncontestable facts, to build and consolidate the great strides made by the current administration under the capable leadership of Malam Nasir El-Rufai. His meaningful engagement and networking with people across Kaduna State and other states of the federation to help build peaceful and prosperous communities position him to lead the state to greater heights. He has resolved to spend the rest of his life working to make Kaduna State one of the best places on the planet to live and work and it will certainly be a delight to bring this to light.

Hattab wrote in from Kaduna

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