The Rural Development Department is saddled with enhancing the transformation of the country’s rural and landscape areas through a sustainable provision of infrastructural facilities. The department has shaped a provisional link between the government and the rural communities through the medium of ensuring sustained infrastructural and human capital development within thees communities. These groundworks includes the construction and rehabilitation of rural roads, creation of boreholes and mini water treatment plants, provision of solar power, as well as viable electricity. The construction of farmlands, irrigation systems, capacity development for residents of these rural communities on non-farm enterprises and entrepreneurial funding schemes are other infrastructures put in place.
Under the cultural appropriation, constituency and intervention funds for the implementation of the rural infrastructural projects from 2016 to 2022, the Rural Development department built 1,583.2 kilometers rural roads, as well as seeing to the installation of 1,530 units of solar powered boreholes and water treatment plants. Other projects include 20,124 units of solar electric facilitation, the building of 22 rural farm market, 15 public toilets and 105 classrooms. Statistics show that out of the 51 percent of residents of rural communities, 65 to 70 percent are heavily reliant on agriculture as the major source of livelihood and thus, responsible for at least 80 percent of the country’s food production.
Areas are not facilitated with infrastructures to improve living.
However, these rural environments are scarcely developed with basic infrastructures to improve their living. Another survey indicates that out of the 132,000km of rural roads representing 68 percent of the country’s road network, only about 10 percent has been immensely developed for the purpose of transportation. This reality has left most rural residents with trekking as their only viable transportation choice. The bad roads in these rural communities lead to high transportation cost, limiting the use of local markets for sale of products and opportunities for off-farm employments. Due to bad roads, residents of most rural communities have also been constrained from good education and access to other social infrastructures.
In a document procured by the Nigerian Tribune, it was disclosed that there was a demand for a 592km rural road project in 2016, where the government only delivered 96km, leaving 84.8 percent of the demand deficit. Another demand for a 780km rural roads surfaced in 2017 and the government again delivered only 156km, 20 percent of the demand. Another request for 1500km in rural roads in 2018 saw the government construct 787km, only 52 percent of the initial demand. The document further revealed the request for a 1720km construction, where the government delivered only 40.5km, leaving a 97.6 percent construction deficit, as well as a 1806km request in 2020, where the government only constructed 503.7km of the initial demand, achieving only 27.90 percent of the request.
Rural residents across Sub-Saharan Africa still lack electricity.
Importantly, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is tasked with ensuring these infrastructural developments in rural communities, to improve productivity, capacity of Human Resources and quality of living among the rural residents. On water and sanitation, the Federal Government has been impactful in its provision of solar powered boreholes and motorized boreholes that consist of four capacity overhead tanks, generators, pump perimeter fences, as well as reticulations. There has also been provision of the Mini Water Treatment Plant that generates at the rate of 20,000 liters daily, serving over 135 houses promptly.
With the importance of electrification and how it improves individual and communal living, it is important to point out that most residents of rural communities across the Sub-Saharan African countries lack access to electricity and even where it exists, the supply is overtly poor. This challenge heralded the government’s efforts at providing access to renewable energy sources like the solar powered lights and mini grid inverters. This effort was shaped to help reduce the number of rural residents without access to electricity. On the efforts of the ministry in developing rural farms and markets, the ministry is noted to have constructed 22 farmers’ markets across the country since 2018.
FG presently involved in Non-Farm Employment Support Service Programme.
The government is presently involved in a Non-Farm Employment Support Services Programme, in a bid for enhancing the knowledge base of rural residents to establish non-farm and off-season enterprises, to boost entrepreneurship skills in these communities. Capacity building training are being conducted where entrepreneurship skills like machine repairs, hair styling and tailoring can be acquired. Even, rural farm tool fabrication and maintenance is being promoted, in collaboration with farm-machine fabrication institutes. The promotion for community nurseries are also being facilitated for development of tree crops, as well as promotion of rural cottages, like local food processing centers.