All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN ), has criticised the Federal Government for approving over N13 billion intervention fund for pest control in twelve northern states.
Recall that Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sabo Nanono, had said the approval became imminent following the outbreak of Coronavirus, which has crippled the economy of the country and may further lead to food insecurity.
But the National President of AFAN, Kabir Ibrahim, in a statement recently in Abuja, argued that the fund was not captured in the 2020 budget and maintained that for government to come up with such an idea shows lack of technical know-how to guarantee food sufficiency.
“That Nigeria is going to spend N13 billion to fight quilea birds, locusts and pests is not provided for in the 2020 budget and therefore unappropriated by the NASS.
“For this kind of information to be churned out to the public tantamount to gross indiscipline and gross misconduct by any public officer who perpetrated it.
“The farmers are at a loss when this kind of information comes out especially when they are struggling to access their farms due to insecurity.
“For the farmers who are not sure of even being able to produce anything to wake up to the realization that the government is planning to spend this kind of money on a perceived problem even before it rears its head is nebulous.
“The question we are asking is how the government came to the decision to expend this collosal sum to protect farm produce whose quantum is indeterminate because its cultivation has not even commenced and there is no veritable data to rely on in forecasting what it will actually amount too.
“For any policy driver to come up with this shows that they are not in firm control of what is happening in the Agriculture space or they are hell bent on defrauding the food system from the onset.”
He called on the leadership of the National Assembly, “to summon a stakeholder hearing to appraise this matter.
“At the end of this hearing the government should be advised to reappraise the performance of the drivers of Agriculture in Nigeria.
“The issues bordering on the food system leading to food security are germane especially during and after the COVID-19 pandemic that has terribly impacted the health and economic sectors of the Nation.
“The Administration to quickly evolve a directorate to take charge of the attainment of food security in Nigeria at the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic to avert food shortage that can lead to the collapse of the whole governance system of our dear country.”
He concluded that, “while we applaud the efforts and concern of President Buhari on the promotion of Agriculture for food security and National development it will not be patriotic to keep quiet in the face of this obtuse and reductive appraisal of an integral component of the National Food System.”