Barely one month after his first visit to the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) Beans Farmers Market in Auta-Baliffe, Karu, Nasarawa state, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh returned to the market as a follow-up visit to personally conduct a needs assessment and identify specific areas for immediate intervention by the federal government.
Addressing the farmers on Saturday, the Minister charged the IDP farmers and traders on proper and safe storage of their farm produce and on the danger of preserving food with harmful chemicals.
This comes after the presentation of a report on the IDP farmers’ market to the federal executive council by the Minister and subsequent deliberations on funds sourcing for intervention and timely support for the farming community.
According to the minister, the areas of need identified for immediate intervention include construction of access roads to the farms/market; provision of water and sanitary facilities; storage facilities; threshers; area fencing and land acquisition to benefit the 21 farming clusters of about 21,000 farmers.
Earlier in December, 2018, the Minister had paid a working visit to the farming community of IDPs at the beans market to inspect the farming activities of the IDPs and their markets in order to identify their areas of need for appropriate government interventions.
Speaking during the first visit, the Minister who was visibly impressed by what he saw praised the efforts of the IDP farmers and pledged government’s support to sustain their livelihoods and their contribution to national food security.
“I’m surprised and elated by what we have seen here today. On behalf of Mr. President, we are very proud of you. We are proud of you because this is not what we normally see at IDP camps. Instead of waiting for someone to bring you food, here you are producing food and making money.
“Here are people who have lost their homes, creating an industry, one of the biggest beans markets I have seen in Nigeria. What we have seen here today is an indication of what Nigerians can do even in adversity. We are very proud of them.”
“We are going to create a bigger market for you; we will look into the all challenges you are facing here and we see how we can help to enable you continue this business and hopefully, one day return to your homes.”
“We are Internally Displaced Persons, displaced from our humble abode in our farming communities in North Eastern Nigeria but we refused to be aggregated in an IDP camp to wait for government and NGOs for support. We chose to remain productive and independent and do the little we can to be of value addition to national growth through Agricultual productivity and job creation” – Sunday Wabba, Market Chairman said.
The IDP farmers’ market is a community of Internally Displaced Persons of about 21 farming clusters in Nasarawa and Kaduna states; producing agricultural produce including Beans, Maize, Millet, Groundnuts, Soya Beans, Sesame, among others.