By Chinyere Anyanwu
The National President of All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Kabir Ibrahim, has harped on the need to involve critical stakeholders, including states Ministries of Agriculture, Federal Directors of Agriculture and farmer-associations like AFAN in any farmer-data capture exercise in the country to ensure its success.
In a recent statement, the AFAN National President stated that while farmer-data capture is very crucial for planning, any effort in that direction without the direct involvement of the above named stakeholders will fail woefully.
Ibrahim said, “any intervention in agriculture by anyone, especially the FMARD (Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development) and the CBN) must take cognizance of the states and the farmer-associations to really have any significant impact on agriculture in Nigeria. Agriculture takes place in the states and the farmers who work the land to produce crops and raise livestock also reside in the states.”
According to him, “the Federal Government does not own farms and not all the states are governed by the same party; as such, the FMARD has to cooperate with the states to convince them to key into its programmes to achieve sustainable outcomes. Appointing consultants and asking them to proceed without any input from the beneficiaries such as the farmers is not going to work sustainably.”
Ibrahim, who served on the farmer-data capture committee in Katsina State at the beginning of the current administration, noted that the farmer-date capture exercise was borne out of the need to enable the government plan for its agricultural development policy.
He said, “the government took my advice on the need to know the number of farmers to be able to plan properly. A consultant will only work efficiently and seamlessly when he or she has the desired brief evolved by interacting with stakeholders. Otherwise, his or her work will be grossly hampered by inadequate information.
“As conceived today, the registration of farmers and the attributes of their farms without the input of AFAN may not succeed in registering the real farmers but a mere charade. We need real and reliable data to plan for many things such as fertiliser penetration, seed production, mechanisation penetration, quantum of storage, processing capacity, marketing strategy, commodity exchange parameters, extension requirements as well as the enhancement of the entire food system.”