Alhaji Nuhu Aminu, Chairman, All Farmers’ Association (AFAN), Kaduna State chapter has encouraged farmers not to be deterred by the present low prices of foodstuff by neglecting the business.
The Chairman, who stated this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Zaria, Kaduna State said the low prices would not remain forever.
He said the call became imperative in view of the fact that some farmers were neglecting the business while others shifted interest from maize, beans and sorghum production to other crops that were relatively higher in price.
“Let me use this medium to appeal to farmers that they shouldn’t be discouraged by the present low prices of foodstuff especially maize, beans and sorghum.
“It is disheartening to note that some farmers have not only switched to other crops but they have abandoned their farmlands due to low prices or as a result of insecurity bedevilling Northern part of the country.
“Another issue is lack of fertilisers or lack of enough money to procure the commodity, because as I am talking to you now, you can’t buy two bags of fertiliser unless you sell three bags of maize or sorghum,” Aminu explained.
He, however, appealed to government at all levels to come to the aid of farmers by purchasing the farm produce at a relatively higher price to complement their efforts for national food security.
The Chairman recalled that in previous years, farmers dominated the payment of Hajj (pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia) but argued that none of such persons could afford it due to low prices of farm produce.
Aminu advised the Federal Government to re-introduce the abandoned Gross Enhancement Scheme (GES) to enable the peasant farmers at the grassroots enjoy the real dividends of democracy.
“GES is the only way to directly assist the real farmers at the grassroots levels.
“This is because most of these farmers don’t even know where to go and where to get the Ancho-Borrower loan because most of them are not literate.
“However, nowadays almost everybody uses handset, therefore, when fertilisers are supplied through the handsets, it is easy for farmers to get it even at the remote villages and access it at a nearby distribution point(s).’’
The chairman advocated for early supply of farming inputs before the rains set-in to enable farmers fully prepare for the job on time and commence cultivation as early as possible.
“We will be happy if government will supply the fertilisers, seeds, chemicals and other inputs in March, this will actually boost the morale of farmers and they will definitely be on their feet.
“In the alternative, let farmers resort to use of local manure, it is even better than the conventional fertilisers because it will enhance the health of farmers and the society in general,” he said.