The poor condition and the lack of all-weather roads to open up rural areas has been largely attributed to the decay of rural development and indirect benefits that can be for future developments of rural areas.
This has adversely contributed to one of the major challenges and future growth of Nigeria’s agriculture sector. These challenges are applicable to every state in the country.
Until recently in Nasarawa state, farmers had been subjected to hardships in transporting their goods. This has led to their investment crashing due to the inability of both human capital and rural roads.
But with the coming of the present administration of Governor Abdullahi Sule things gradually began to pick up for the rural dwellers as the government has not only provided incentives to farmers but equally provided infrastructure to guarantee their investment.
The infrastructure includes rural roads, markets development and awareness which have helped in bringing succour to farmers. High-profile business men from northern states and eastern part of the country have turned Nasarawa state to a business hub especially with the relative peace enjoyed in the state. Farmers now have high yields of groundnut, millet, soya beans, maize, sesame seed, egusi and rice and yam.
In the Jangwa area of Awe local government, on a daily basis trailers of food items are transported outside the state to the east. The people of the community have testified that the ongoing construction of the twin bridge along Ribi- Jangwa road in Awe is already having a positive impact on the community.
The state government’s rural development programme to assist farmers and rural populace has opened up the farming communities and linked them up to urban centers, thereby unveiling the hidden potential in the agriculture sub-sector which contribute over 80 per cent of the means of livelihood of the people through cultivation of yam in Assakio, millet, groundnut, maize and other crops in various communities in the state.
The state is also focused not only on increasing food production but widening job opportunities and economic growth.
It is on this premise that the governor embarked on road infrastructure development in the rural areas across the state to unbundle potentials in agriculture in the communities in order to reduce the state’s dependence on the monthly allocations from the federal government.
Some business owners and dwellers in villages have expressed delight at the development.
Nuhu Muhammad is tea seller (Mai Shayi), at the junction linking Atsakio- Obi, said, “The road was in a very bad shape which made it very difficult for people to move to other villages especially during the raining season, but with the construction and grading of the road you could see vehicles and people moving freely.”
Also, a pick-up driver, Ibrahim Adamu, appreciated the state government for connecting Atsakio to Obi.
“We no longer pass through Lafia or other routes. I am happy now because I can pick passengers to Obi and back to Atsakio. As a family man, this has improved my income and standard of living,” he said.
Similarly, a farmer, Maryam Adamu, said the road has made it easy for them to access their farms.
According to her, “Before now we either trekked on foot or got a bicycle that would convey us to the farm but today there are vehicles that do that.”
Likewise, the residents of Angwa Bem village, a Tiv community where one of the new bridges is located, expressed joy over the completion of the bridge.
The youth leader of the community, Terseh Alanchacha, said the particular area where the bridge was constructed had in the past ‘swallowed’ a trailer with goods and people onboard and none came out alive.
He said the administration of Engr. Sule is a blessing to the community as they could now sell their farm produce on the road side and make earnings.
The Asakio -Obi road which connects more six villages has made it easy for villagers to easily transport their goods to the market, access school and medical care because a primary health care centre and a government primary school are located along the road.
It is against this background that one would agree that both the rich and the poor in those communities would benefit substantially from the rural road development embarked upon by the government.
Alhaqmedia concept also observed the ongoing construction of a bridge that links many communities in Azara. The bridge is expected to ease cultivation and harvest of crops and movement of people and goods.
A community leader in Buayi, Namo Abdullah, said the construction of the bridge was laudable.
“We depend solely on the canoe to convey goods. And our people are suffering because our people either cross the bridge through Buayi or Jangwa,” he said.
The state government has also connected Agwade-Shupe-Atabula-Obi. Drainages and short bridges were also constructed for the inhabitants of the communities – Fulani, Tiv, Koro (miligi), Eggon and Alagos.
It was also observed that they are living in peace as the road cuts across their villages and is of great benefit to them as the economic situation of the communities has improved significantly. Vehicles now convey agricultural produce from the villages to urban areas.
A resident of lakyo village, Mr. Britus Danjuma, noted that the construction of the road has reduced their sufferings.
He said the people of the community are predominantly farmers and they usually harvest their agricultural produce and convey them to Shabu market for sale.
“As you can see, we are farmers and a lot of our people come here to buy maize, groundnut, millet, and other crops out of Lafia,” he said, and appealed to the state government to build another market where products could be sold instead of travelling to Shabu.
He further highlighted the various villages that have benefited from the road construction to include Shabu, Gambo, Dogo yaro, Sabon Pegi, Samunaka, Doka, Arugababa, Arugbalamu, and Lakio.
…Salihu of Alhaqmedia Concepts wrote in from Lafia