- Background information
The development of state ministry of agriculture in Nigeria changed in political structure after independence. The three regions structure in 1960 gave way to four regions in1963 and this equally gave way to states creation from 1967 up to 1996 (Ayoola, 2010). The roles of the ministry of agriculture include the following: – Organizing of short duration seminars and workshops to farmers. Providing farmers credit, subsidies and other incentives to boost total output in the various special programmes undertaken by the state government, Agricultural Development Programme (ADP), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), World Bank, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and other support programmes. Conduct market surveys to determine current prices of agricultural inputs and products. Carry out the technical implementation of all agricultural loan schemes. Pest control services. Overseeing the activities of all agriculture related Parastatals and Companies (www.riverstate.gov.ng).
Agriculture in Nigeria has witnessed drastic changes in government programmes ranging from administration, funding, manpower and learning skills, and infrastructural facilities to creation of research institutes (Madukwe, 2008). The first post colonial development era of 1962-1968 period emphasized the introduction of more modern agricultural methods through farm settlements, co-operative plantations, supply of improved farm implements and a greatly expanded agricultural extension service. Some specialized development schemes initiated during this period include: the National Accelerated Food Topicion Programme (NAFPP), 1972; The World Bank-funded Agricultural Development Projects (ADP) 1975; River Basin and Rural Development Authorities (RBDA) 1976; Operation Feed the Nation, 1976; and Green Revolution Programme, 1980; among others (Jibowo & Ajayi, 2011).
Agricultural Development Programme (ADP) was a bilateral agreement between the World Bank and the Federal Government of Nigeria in 1975. ADP idea is an offshoot of the concept of integrated agricultural and rural development (Jibowo, 2005). The objective is to improve the levels of living and welfare of farmers. It started as an enclave in some states to a multi-stage ADP. The ADP is the implementation organ of the state ministries of agriculture and natural resources (Jibowo and Ajayi, 2011). ADP programmes consist of adaptive research, extension transfer, input supply and rural infrastructure.
Operation feed the Nation (OFN) (1975) was designed to mobilize the general public into participating in agricultural production using mass and individual extension methods (Iwuchukwu and Igbokwe, 2012). Some of these strategies included subsidized production inputs, increased bank credit to farmers, establishment of commodity boards and fixing of attractive prices for agricultural produce (Daneji, 2011). Its main aim was to greatly reduce the cost of living particularly in the urban areas with everybody being able to wholly or partly feed himself (Adebayo and Okuneye, 2011).
River Basin and Rural Development Authorities (RBDA) was launched in 1976. Primarily, the schemes were to harness the country’s water resources by providing employment opportunities through intensified crop, livestock and fisheries production with the hope of improving the standard of living of the rural population (Williams, 1981). Their functions were to facilitate land development and ensure efficient water resource management. Even though the project has succeeded several regimes, irrigated land in Nigeria stood at 0.7% (Adebayo and Okuneye, 2011)
The Directorate of Foods, Road and Rural Infrastructure (DFRRI) was established in 1987 with a mandate to open the rural areas through the construction of access roads, and provision of basic amenities of modern living but due to the following reasons, the programme was not sustainable: The programme was inevitable because it has long been realized according to Otubanjo (1992) that the economic future of Nigeria depends on the development of rural areas. Therefore, the potentials of rural areas were seen to be both immediate and long term (Daneji, 2011). The idea of opening up of rural areas with feeder roads and integrating it with other parts of the country provided basis for food that could be evacuated to enhance the quantity of food and raw materials consumption. During the period of 1980-1988, 30,000km roads were constructed from the targeted 60,000km estimated by DFFRI. The poor quality of infrastructures provided by the directorate probably due to mismanagement of fund made the impact of the programme almost insignificant. However, the directorate had been criticized in the past for lack of proper focus and programme accountability (Idachaba, 1988).
National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP) (1999) mode of operation is tailored towards (subsidized) credit to farmers. The programme consists of four schemes namely, youth empowerment scheme which involves capacity acquisition, mandatory attachment, and credit delivery; Rural infrastructures development scheme which involves the provision of portable water, rural electrification, transportation and communication development; Social welfare Services Scheme which is involved with qualitative education, primary health care, farmers empowerment and provision of social services, provision of agricultural input and credit delivery to rural farmers; and Natural Resources Development and Conservation Scheme which contains programmes for environmental protection through conservation of land and space, development of agricultural resources, solid minerals and waters resources.
National Fadama Development programme (1999) is aimed at increasing income of beneficiaries by at least 20%. It is a major instrument for achieving the government’s poverty reduction objective in rural areas of Nigeria. The programme empowers the association with resources, training, and technical assistance support to properly manage and control the resources for their own development.
Apart from those initiated by federal government and implemented in the state, they were some programmes and projects initiated by Anambra state government which include; Grain Topicion Agency 1991; Poverty Alleviation Programme 2002; Volunteer Service Agency (VSA) 1991; Anambra State Tractor Hiring Company (ASTRAC) 1991; Small Holder Management Unit 1991; State Agricultural Credit Scheme (SACS) 1991; State Loan Implementation Committee (SIC) 2006; National Programme for Food Security (NPFS) 2007. However, the scope of activities in various programmes mentioned among others, are similarly implemented in areas of policies, funding, manpower training, recruitment and that forms the essence of the problem of this research.
1.2 Problem statement
Since the creation of Anambra state in 1991, the State Ministry of Agriculture has gone through series of changes in the areas of policy initiatives, staffing, manpower training, funding of programmes (Anambra SEEDS document, n.d). However, some of the changes did not only come from the State but as a result of possible initiatives from interventions/developmental programme introduced by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture through collaboration with donor agencies such as Africa Development Bank (AfDB), Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Japanese International Co-operation Agency (JICA), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), World Bank etc.
To be effective, the Ministry of Agriculture should be dynamic in enhancing the capacity for administering the increasing number of programme. To be dynamic the Ministry must learn from its past programmes. There have been changes in the programmes, policy initiatives, and manpower development of the State Ministry of Agriculture. Chronicling these changes are very important in articulating future policies and programmes as they provide vital information for learning. The question that arose was: what are the activities of the ministries over the past 10 years in terms of policies, programmes, staff recruitment, funding, manpower, capacity development and linkages with other actors?
1.3 Purpose of the study
The objective of the study was to examine the trends in the activities of the Anambra State Ministry of Agriculture and rural development. Specifically, the study sought to:
- identify the trends in policies and programmes in the State Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development;
- describe the trends in manpower recruitment;
- identify trends in funding of the ministry;
- identify the trends in manpower development in the Ministry; and
- identify trends in the linkage of the Ministry with other stakeholders.
1.4 Significance of the study
The findings of this research would assist the government and other political office holders appreciate the trend of activities in the ministry and the need for corrective actions. The result may raise interest for private investment and NGOs on the need and areas for support and participation.
The Ministry of Agriculture which is an arm of the government would use this research finding in understanding their linkage strength and the lapses in manpower and capacity development and take adequate measures to make correction. Improvements in the various aspects of the Ministry resulting from the finding will enhance the capacity of the ministry to effectively meet its mandates. This will positively impact on the farmers and farming activities in the state. This study may stimulate further investigation in other agencies within agriculture, ministry of agriculture in other states and other ministries outside agriculture.