The Senate Committee on Agriculture yesterday rounded off its first phase of on- the-spot oversight of federal government agencies. They visited the Nigeria Stored Products Research Institute (NSPRI), Agricultural and Rural Management Institute (ARMI) and the National Centre for Agricultural Mechanisation (NCAM), all in Ilorin, Kwara State.
The committee had earlier visited the Bank of Agriculture, Kaduna; National Institute for Fresh Water Research, New-Bussa; Federal Corporative College, Minna; National Cereals Research Institute, Baddeggi; National Animal Production Research Institute, Zaria; Federal College of Stored Produce, Kano; National College of Fresh Water Fisheries Technology, New-Bussa.
Others are the National Agriculture Extension Research and Liaison Services and the Institute of Agriculture Research, both in Zaria, Kaduna State.
According to the chairman of the committee, Senator Emmanuel Bwacha, the on-the-spot assessment enabled the committee see the decay in the agriculture sector and the level of abandonment that the sector has suffered.
He also stated the committee’s resolve to ensure direct funding for research institutes so as to put a stop to the difficulties that arise from the interface with contractors in collecting the funds.
He said, “We have concluded the first leg of the oversight visit; we will commence the second leg in Gombe.
Also speaking, the acting executive director of NCAM, Mr. Ike Azogwu, an engineer, told the committee how state governments contributed to the importation of substandard tractors, even as he appealed to the committee to sponsor an act to make it compulsory for all tractors to be tested by NCAM.