By John Oba,
As Nigeria joins the World to celebrate the 2017 World Day, farmers have threatened to stop production by 2018 as a result of the low prices they are currently experiencing and unbridled importation of agric produces.
Th e President, All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Architect Kabiru Ibrahim, stated this while fi elding questions from Journalist at a briefi ng to mark the World Food Day(WFD) and the National Agricultural Show with the theme Sustainable Agriculture for Economic Development in Abuja, Th ursday.
He said ” the farmers are business people and they have to be able to do the business, if they do not have suffi cient cash next year, they won’t be able to do it”.
Ibrahim said: “Farmers today are complaining of bad prices for their produce simply because there was importation of some commodities from abroad which should not be because it discourages people”.
He noted that in the world today “every country does Limited productionism, by putting huddles in the path of those importing things from elsewhere to be able to feed itself but in Nigeria today the contrary has happened” He stated further that: “We were hopeful that the new policy on Agriculture was a good vehicle to bring about food security in Nigeria and we came down and in fact enabled the current Minister to getgood environment to be able to hit the ground running”.
He lamented that “today the strategic grain reserve does not have anything and instead of looking inward to buy from farmers, what we have seen today is an importation that is inimical to the progress of Agriculture in Nigeria that should not happen”.
Th e President advised that the way out is for government to allow farmers to be part of the drivers of any policy.
He said” Th is is what we thought would happen when the Green Alternative came about.
All policies from 1976 to the time that this was launched were actually run by government and we thought the Green Alternative was going to be diff erent.
And the farmers would drive it and all these problems would have been foreseen before now.
He urged that Nigeria should look at the country and the Africa continent as a whole,noting that traditionally Nigerian farmers had fed the country and neighbouring countries using traditional means,he said they should continue to do that.
Also speaking,the National Coordinator, National Agricultural Foundation of Nigeria(NAFN) Dr.
Samuel Negedu stressed the need for Nigerian farmers to embrace the National Agricultural Show and continuously maintain a dialogue to take ownership of some of its programmes,noting they would not succeed without adequateownership of the programme.
Dr Negedu stressed the need for adequate buy in, stressing that “whatever is done by the federal government should be complemented by the respective governments at the state level as agriculture is at the state level”.
He maintained that the federal government has a well laid out programme for the diversifi cation of the economy, adding that if agriculture has been given a pride of place then it should be embraced and practiced.
Speaking on the show scheduled to hold from October 16-20th 2017,he said the show is aimed at showcasing what has been happening in agriculture in the past calender year to Nigerians.
He said the theme of this year’s show, is Sustaining agriculture for economic development.
“And we would at the end of the day have that level of intercourse for the public to know that agriculture has pride of place and we also have avenues for people to broadcast businesses during the show,” he revealed.
He said the policies on agriculture should be adequately presented to the Nigerian farmers and that the farmers will also embrace the programmes.
“Th ere is also a need to continuously maintain a dialogue with the Nigerian farmers in this regard, so that they would take ownership of some of the programmes because if there is no adequate ownership of these programmes, they would not succeed.
Th ey would only remain on the desk of the federal government.
“Again most of the states are not doing much for now in agriculture, let them buy into the federal government programmes and whatever is done be the federal should be replicated in the states.
Agriculture is at the state level, and it should be supported by the state governments,” he said.