AGRI­CUL­TURE How Borno plans to re­vive agri­cul­ture

Daily Trust - - 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.

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