Farmers require FG’s support to progress
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