Farm­ers to pay fee for pro­tec­tion – Og­beh

Daily Trust - - FRONT PAGE - By Isi­aka Wak­ili & Hus­sein Ya­haya

The Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment is mak­ing a se­cu­rity ar­range­ment whereby farm­ers in the coun­try will pay fees for pro­tec­tion from kid­nap­pers while in their farms.

The Min­is­ter of Agri­cul­ture and Ru­ral De­vel­op­ment, Chief Audu Og­beh, dropped the hint yes­ter­day in Abuja while speak­ing with State House cor­re­spon­dents af­ter the Fed­eral Ex­ec­u­tive Coun­cil meet­ing.

Ogbe, who was re­spond­ing to a ques­tion on the peren­nial at­tacks on farm­ers by sus­pected Fu­lani herds­men, said he and the Min­is­ter of In­te­rior had met and were con­sid­er­ing the se­cu­rity sit­u­a­tion in the agri­cul­ture sec­tor.

He said the gov­ern­ment had to use a le­git­i­mate in­stru­ment of state to stop the ab­duc­tions be­cause a farmer has no right to buy an AK47 ri­fle to pro­tect him­self.

He also dis­closed that a de­vel­op­ment pro­gramme was un­der­way in the Fed­eral Cap­i­tal Ter­ri­tory to stop cows from be­ing moved around. He said the fed­eral gov­ern­ment would not force any­one to pro­vide land for graz­ing re­serves, even as some states were will­ing to make lands avail­able.

Ogbe also said the gov­ern­ment was aware of crises in many fam­i­lies as a re­sult of se­ri­ous food short­age, adding that the Fed­eral Ex­ec­u­tive Coun­cil had ap­proved a new agri­cul­ture road map to ad­dress food short­age in the coun­try.

He said The Green Al­ter­na­tive, meant for agri­cul­tural op­er­a­tions in the next three years, out­lined gov­ern­ment’s poli­cies and ob­jec­tives of see­ing agri­cul­ture as the next big­gest al­ter­na­tive in its drive to di­ver­sify the econ­omy.

Ac­cord­ing to him, the doc­u­ment out­lines vir­tu­ally ev­ery­thing Nige­ria needs to do to achieve self-suf­fi­ciency in food pro­duc­tion and be­come a ma­jor ex­porter of agri­cul­tural prod­ucts.

The min­is­ter said though the na­tion could not achieve self-suf­fi­ciency ab­so­lutely in the next one year, it was ap­proach­ing there.

Also while in­au­gu­rat­ing com­mit­tees for the im­ple­men­ta­tion of an MoU be­tween the fed­eral gov­ern­ment and par­tic­i­pat­ing state gov­ern­ments and the China-Africa Ma­chin­ery Cor­po­ra­tion ( CAMACO) on agri­cul­tural mech­a­ni­sa­tion sys­tem, Ogbe lamented the short­age of trac­tors in Nige­ria when com­pared to farm­ers’ pop­u­la­tion and size of farms.

CAMACO is a ven­ture funded by the China-African De­vel­op­ment Fund (CADFund) as a strate­gic part­ner­ship built and de­vel­oped be­tween China and Africa, with the pur­pose of en­cour­ag­ing and sup­port­ing Chinese en­ter­prises to in­vest in Africa.

Chief Og­beh said there were fewer than 30,000 trac­tors in Nige­ria but the coun­try should at least as at to­day, have one mil­lion. The part­ner­ship with CAMACO is an at­tempt to catch up with short­falls in trac­tors and in­crease mech­a­ni­sa­tion to make it eas­ier for agri­cul­ture to take place.

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