All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) have appealed to the federal government to restore the popular Growth Enhancement Support Programme (GES) initiated by Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, the former Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Dr. Adesina is currently presides over the African Development Bank (AfDB).
The farmers made the call during a visit to Mohammed Nanono, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, last Thursday in Abuja.
AFAN’s new chairman, Alhaji Farouk Mudi, who spoke on behalf of Nigeria farmers said the initiative can be fine-tuned, if there were lapses in the previous version.
According to him, it would boost farmer’s production, create jobs and increase internally generated revenue for the states.
“Agriculture should be seen as a business and not a cultural practice. It must be structured, developed and financed as a business for us to fully unlock its potentials.” Mudi added.
Responding, the Minister assured the association of government’s commitment to supporting farmers but however tasked the farmer to Support the federal government in driving the Agriculture Mechanization Programme, stating that the programme would ensure food and nutrition security, create jobs and boost the economy.
Nanono noted that the challenge of feeding the Nation’s growing population and creating a robust economy, food security and job creation would be a mirage without farmers’ involvement in mechanization of the sector.
He stressed the need for the association to be independent minded and more focused. According to him, the association is a private organization, “it is entirely a Private Association and should be free from the influence of the Federal, State or Local Government Areas.”
The Minister further said that, “those with little or no knowledge of farming or farmers, had hijacked the activities of the farmers for their selfish interest against the goals and objectives of the association”.
He assured the federal government will work with AFAN as major stakeholders in the sector.
The Minister also highlighted the three critical components of the Ministry’s policy thrust in which the desired transformation of the sector would become a reality to include; Mechanization, Research for Improved Seedlings and Effective Extension Services.
He appealed to AFAN to mobilize and sensitize the farmers, especially in the Local Government Areas to key into the Programme when it is implemented, adding that the Programme would be owned by the farmers.