Farm­ers re­quire FG’s sup­port to progress

Daily Trust - - FEATURE - By Shehu Abubakar, who was in Kano & Vin­cent A. Yusuf, Abuja Alh. Yusuf Nad­abo Chi­ro­mawa Bro­ken down com­bined har­vester and trac­tors in Chi­ro­mawa’s farm

Farm­ers in Nigeria need the sup­port of Federal Govern­ment to pro­duce and ex­port their com­modi­ties, Chair­man of All Farm­ers As­so­ci­a­tion (AFAM) in Kano State, Al­haji Yusuf Nad­abo Chi­ro­mawa, has said.

Chi­ro­mawa, a ma­jor farmer who has been into as­sorted crops pro­duc­tion for over 40 years, said Nigeria has enough arable land and wa­ter for ir­ri­ga­tion to sat­isfy lo­cal con­sump­tion, food pro­cess­ing com­pa­nies and ex­port to other coun­tries.

He said all ma­jor agri­cul­tural pro­duc­ing coun­tries of the world sup­port their farm­ers by sub­si­dis­ing the prices of agri­cul­tural in­puts and mech­a­nis­ing the sys­tem, adding: “They also buy up farm pro­duce from the farm­ers and sell to the cit­i­zens at sub­sidised rate as a ma­jor means of ad­dress­ing hunger and food short­ages.

“When you look at it crit­i­cally, some state gov­ern­ments are se­ri­ous about agri­cul­ture. Kano, for ex­am­ple, has trained a lot of youths in the area of agri­cul­ture. They have em­pow­ered them fi­nan­cially to set up poul­try farms and other agri­cul­tural ven­tures. The Federal Govern­ment should com­ple­ment the ef­forts of the states by pro­vid­ing more sup­port to farm­ers.

“The federal govern­ment has con­structed and equipped a milk fac­tory here in Chi­ro­mawa and aban­doned it for sev­eral years now. It has been over grown by weeds. This is some­thing that could have been very use­ful to the coun­try but it has be­come an aban­doned project.

“It may in­ter­est you to know that for the over 40 years I have been into mass agri­cul­tural pro­duc­tion, I have not ben­e­fit­ted from a sin­gle govern­ment ges­ture to farm­ers ei­ther in terms of fi­nan­cial or ma­te­rial sup­port. One will be­gin to won­der what cri­te­ria they are us­ing in the dis­tri­bu­tion of their pack­ages to farm­ers. I think the Federal Govern­ment should stop play­ing pol­i­tics with is­sue agri­cul­ture and face the re­al­ity. We have the po­ten­tials to move agri­cul­ture for­ward but we have been mark­ing time since.”

Chi­ro­mawa lamented that his abil­ity to en­hance his agri­cul­tural pro­duc­tion was be­ing threat­ened be­cause all the com­bined har­vesters, trac­tors and other agric mech­a­ni­sa­tion equip­ment he bought have bro­ken down thereby slow­ing down his farm­ing abil­ity.

He said: “As­sum­ing the Federal Govern­ment is so com­mit­ted to tak­ing agri­cul­ture to the next level as they have been say­ing, those of us with ob­so­lete farm­ing equip­ment would have since ben­e­fit­ted from its ges­ture so as to main­tain the tempo. Look at me I am will­ing to im­prove on my agri­cul­tural pro­duc­tion but no sup­port.

“I know that the govern­ment is will­ing to help farm­ers but they have dif­fi­culty know­ing what to do to whom at what time. I will sug­gest that the first thing to do is to reg­is­ter all the farm­ers cap­tur­ing their names, age, where they re­side, the type of crop they plant, an­i­mals and birds they grow and the size of one’s farm. That way, govern­ment will al­ways know which farmer wants what. But for now, ma­jor­ity of the people get­ting agric loans and other in­cen­tives have noth­ing do­ing with farm­ing.”

Com­ment­ing, Dr Charles Mo­moh, a farmer and the Federal Cap­i­tal Ter­ri­tory (FCT) Di­rec­tor of the Federal Min­istry Agri­cul­ture, said the new off­line tech­nol­ogy in­tro­duced by the Federal Govern­ment to reg­is­ter farm­ers in FCT and Sokoto for the 2014 pro­vi­sion of sub­sidised farm­ing in­puts was in line with the sug­ges­tion made by Chi­ro­mawa.

He added: “The pre­vi­ous reg­is­tra­tions we did have been on­line. That is to say that you need hand­set, you also need to have net­work in that par­tic­u­lar area, or proper cov­er­age. But in this one that we are talk­ing about now, in this dis­pen­sa­tion- the GES TAP is off­line re­demp­tion. You don’t need to own a hand­set (tele­phone) to be able to redeem. So once the reg­is­tra­tion is done, you have your card and go to your re­demp­tion cen­tre, you will be able to redeem.

“What a farmer needs to get him reg­is­tered is that one, he or she has to be 18 years and above. Sec­ondly, on pre­sent­ing him­self at a cen­tre, he needs to also come with a means of iden­ti­fi­ca­tion-a Driver’s Li­cense, Na­tional Iden­tity Card, Voter’s Card, or In­ter­na­tional pass­port.

“Es­sen­tially, the pho­to­graph of the farmer will be there. Also his bio-data, his fam­ily, the num­bers of chil­dren he has and all that; and the farm­ing ac­tiv­i­ties that he does, the ma­jor crop­ping ac­tiv­i­ties and mi­nor ones and all that will be cap­tured in the green card.”

Aban­doned FG’s milk fac­tory at Chi­ro­mawa

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