Farmers to pay fee for protection – Ogbeh
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.