AGRICULTURE How Borno plans to revive agriculture
He said the state plans to establish agro processing factories to take advantage of high production of tomatoes, pepper and other crops in different parts of the state, saying the state has taken delivery of large, medium and small scale rice mills.
Governor Shettima said the equipment will be allocated to farmers in the state through cooperatives and community settlements associated with various agricultural activities and government will ensure that the equipment are used to enhance agricultural activities in the state.
“From what you all have seen here, Borno is set, we have so much equipment to take the drudgery out of agriculture. All we need is a window of peace in our rural communities so that we can unveil our massive plans. Our programmes will be community driven and we will have so much bias for women because they bear the brunt of the insurgency. They are the people taking care of orphans and their homes; we will train them to be self-sufficient.
“Capacity development leads to efficient utilization of equipment as well as maintenance. We have invested so much in capacity development and it will be a continuous process. I have just directed that 200 additional youth should be engaged by the seedlings production centre for comprehensive training. We are set and peace will soon return Insha Allah for us to achieve our good objectives,” he said.
The agricultural equipments were mostly imported from the United States, India, Thailand and Egypt even as some of them were specifically manufactured to suit the state.
One of the female farmers in the state, Hajiya Talatu Isge said Boko Haram activities in Askira Uba area has affected farming activities thereby threatening the production of food and cash crops in the area, adding, “The steps taken by the state governor is enough not only to revive agriculture after insurgency but also to enhance production as we never did before.
“The major problem of agriculture in Nigeria is lack of modern farming inputs, lack of government support and lack of access to modern techniques. All these have now been provided. I could remember some years ago in this same state, we had less than ten functional tractors, no single combined harvester. Then, I do not even know planters. Thank God we have them now. Whoever wants to be a farmer can become one with ease.
“We have very few women farmer groups and most of them are not active. Now that priority is accorded to female farmer groups, we shall form such associations and make them active. God willing; the marginalization of female farmers is over. When the Boko Haram insurgents are finally sent packing, we shall start a new life in the farms,” she said.
Bana Zaifada is a vegetables farmer who said he has been idle since the insurgents overran his village along Bama road and destroyed his farm, saying, “As a full time farmer, there is nothing any government can do to me better than helping me to enhance my farming production. With what I heard over the radio on the things this governor has bought for farmers in the state, I think the good time has come.
“I am 63 years old. I have never felt as cared for as a farmer like now. I am now a beggar because I have nothing doing. But I am confident the good time for farmers is just by the corner. Let this crisis end, we shall be there. For over 20 years now I have not been able to use a tractor in my farm because I do not have the money to pay. With 2,000 new tractors in the state, I am sure they will be everywhere,” he said.
Momodu Ali Tungushe is a transporter in the state. He said as soon as the equipment start functioning, he will go back to farming, saying, “What will I be doing at the back of truck struggling with cows when I can easily be a farmer? I was in Bakalori in Zamfara State for three years. I have seen the advantage of using a tractor in a farm there. With these tractors, Borno may likely be the best in agricultural production in this country very soon.
“We have vast agricultural land in the state that we can use to cultivate assorted crops and vegetables. The hindrance now is this insurgency. Before the insurgency, previous administrations in the state were not paying as much attention to agriculture as the present administration is doing. Idleness among youth in the state will soon be a thing of the past,” he said.
A consultant in agriculture, Dr Sani Musa Kwaso said the steps adopted by the state government is capable of enhancing agricultural production, saying, “If all the states can do the same, surely the sector will improve and our food security will have a boost. This step will not only improve farming activities in the state, but it will also reduce dependency on government.
“I am pained whenever I notice that state governments that ought to encourage mechanized farming are still buying cows and prowls for farmers in their states. In this era, we should go for tractors and other modern farming equipment. Let the insurgency end today, give them three years with these equipment at their disposal and see how they will enhance production,” he said.