NECAS and its empowerment programmes in Yobe



Recently, the North-East Commodity Association (NECAS) flagged-off the

distribution of 100 tractors to farmers. MUSA M BUBA writes on how the scheme is empowering farmers in Yobe state.

It is said that every crisis comes with its challenges which range from

displacements, killings, among others. It is therefore the same with the Boko Haram insurgency that crippled economic activities in the North-East thereby inducing poverty on the people most especially after fleeing to other

relatively peaceful communities for safety.

As a result of this, government and non-governmental organisations had to establish

post insurgency programmes that would speed up the recovery processes for the

displaced persons.

For instance, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) established an anchor programme styled North

East Commodity Association (NECAS) to assist farmers with certified seeds and implements in order to boost agricultural activities towards food production and ensure self-sufficiency.

The programme targets vulnerable farmers in the states ravaged by insurgency like Borno, Adamawa, Gombe, Bauchi, Taraba and Yobe.

Distribution of certified seeds

In Yobe state, for instance, so far, 11,500 rice farmers have benefited in 2019. These are farmers who cultivated 19,620 hectares of land. Another 15,000 farmers, according to Investigation, would soon benefit from the certified seeds of sorghum, sesame, maize, soya beans in order to cultivate 30,000 hectares of lands.

Blueprintgathered from the Yobe state chairman of NECAS, Nuhu Baba Hassan, that the farming implements to be distributed include insecticide, water pump machines, knapsack sprayer, horse intact, horse discharge, among others.

Distribution of 100 tractors

For the farmers in these state to embrace mechanised farming for speedy economic

recovery from the devastation caused by insurgency, NECAS recently flagged off the distribution of 100 tractors to farmers. The exercise was done by the governor of the state, Mai Mala Buni.

While flagging-off, the tractor distribution exercise, Buni acknowledged that no nation can be secured unless it can feed itself.

“I commend NECAS for the provision of 100 tractors for distribution to our farmers as the rainy season sets-in for it would bring food sufficiency,” he said.

He urged all, including civil servants, to embrace agriculture by securing farm lands of

their own, noting that even as governor, he too owns about three farms and had been reaping from the benefits.

The national chairman of NECAS was represented by the association’s national

secretary, Ahmed Duku, who said 600 tractors were earmarked for distribution in the North-east states alone with each getting 100 tractors.

He said, “The efforts by NECAS has created jobs among the youths. Each tractor has six people working on it apart from the cultivation of farms.”

NECAS chairman in Yobe, Nuhu Baba Hassan, said “Our association would be the custodian of the tractors. For any registered farmer or group that needs our services, we will cultivate the hectares of the land by ourselves and issue him/her the implements”.

He noted further that the repayment period is after harvest in which the farmer will pay 50%

cost of the harrowing, certified seeds and the implements while the remaining balance is to be paid in the second year of the farming season.

Blueprintinvestigation also showed that the cost of tractor hiring is cheaper than the ones obtainable with the commercial owners. It was also learnt that all the local governments in the state are beneficiaries with the exception of one that did not register with the association.

Gov Buni’s agricultural blueprint

Governor Buni, during his inauguration on May 29 2019, said agriculture remains the major employer and mainstay of the state economy. To that extent, he said his administration would unfold an agricultural blueprint to make it attractive as well as profitable. The programme, according to Investigation, is designed to encourage and empower farmers to move away from subsistence farming to large scale production for food security and economic growth.

He said, “Government would, as a matter of priority, support our farmers with timely provision of agricultural inputs mainly tractors, improved quality seeds, fertilisers, herbicides and pesticides to control the scourge of pests.

“In our drive to achieve food security and improved agricultural production, the state would procure more tractors, while every local

government council would also get 20 tractors each in the next one year.

“We have mapped out plans and strategies to canvass for an extension of the federal government’s farmer anchor borrowers programme to the states. Government will also collaborate with national and international agricultural organisations to support individuals, groups and farmer organisations in order to establish more farms.”

Buni also said one of the agricultural sub sectors that the government is to pay

more attention is irrigation farming across the state of which he said a survey would be carried to identify areas where rain

water would be harvested and harnessed for the purposes of irrigation.

Fertiliser supply

Both NECAS and the state government, according to reports, had the intention of bringing in fertilisers to the farmers, but there was a ban on it by the security agents due to the activities of the insurgents who use it to produce explosives, according to reports. To that extent, the governor said there in a closed door meeting with the security personnel on the possibility of allowing the movement of the products directly to farmers in order to boost farming activities.

Beneficiaries

Some farmer beneficiaries like Adamu Ali Bazam and Mustapha Jauro said the provision of the tractors to the state has made farming easier unlike before that tractors used to be a big challenge to them. “Few years back, you have to look for tractors for weeks and at the end of the day, you may find none due to the limited numbers we have here.”

NECAS which was launched by President Muhammad Buhari on November 17, 2015 was intended to create linkage in Small Holder Farmers (SHFs) of required key agricultural commodities.

In justifying the programme, the CBN said that its anchor borrowers programme has now added two million metric tons of rice supply in the country and had also created 500,000 jobs.

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