Farmers Urge President -Elect To Prioritise Agriculture
Events that have shaped agricultural sector in recent times within Nigeria, indicate that the country is far from achieving goal 2 of ending hunger by 2030 in line with global agenda of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
This year alone, over 25 million Nigerians are projected to suffer from food and nutrition insecurity between June and September and other challenges such as perennial floods, inaccessible mechanised agriculture, lack of quality and improved seeds for farmers, poor policy implementation, farmer-herders crisis, low investment in irrigation and inability to transform the livestock sector, have all continued to undermine the country’s viable agricultural sector.
Sadly, Nigerian farmers continue to bear the brunt of many losses due to devastating impacts of climate change, with no resilient build for their livelihoods.
It’s against this background that the farmers are hopeful that the incoming administration of the president-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu will change the narration of the story.
Tinubu’s agricultural transformation blueprint as promised in his campaign is premised on utilising the energy of the youths, the farmers, and the workers and to consolidate on the achievements of Muhammadu Buhari’s administration in agriculture. He had, in a town hall meeting with farmers in Niger State last November, said that their voices would be heard when he was elected.
Some farmers who spoke with me on their expectations from the incoming administration, have asked the president-elect to appoint farmers as minister of agriculture, water
Already, the All Farmers Association (AFAN), through its national president, Arc Kabir Ibrahim, has pledged to work with the president-elect to bring about food security in Nigeria.
In addition, the national president of Potato Farmers Association of Nigeria (POFAN), Daniel Okafor urged the incoming administration to tackle insecurity, provide grants for farmers and formulate policies that will facilitate climate smart agriculture.
Okafor said, “We want the new administration to appoint a farmer as minister of Agriculture , minister of Water Resources and minister of Industries, Science and Technology.
He also urged the president – elect to tackle insecurity, herder-farmers conflict and terrorism. “…the provisions of input, grants to farmers, market access to our famers, provisions of rural roads, training and retraining of our farmers, provisions for agro allied industries, data of farmers in the rural villages, urban and semi urban, we need a climate smart agriculture,” he disclosed.
A farmer and chairman of Odeke Youth Farmers Forum in Ibaji local government area of Kogi State, Williams Egwuda told me that they want the incoming president to prioritise investment in agriculture and address insecurity to enable favourable environment for farming.
Speaking further Egwuda said, “We are appealing to the incoming government to subsidise farm implements and chemicals and look into how farmers can have soft loans.”