From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
Commissioners and Special Advisers for agriculture across the six states of the South West have identified insecurity as the foremost challenge confronting agricultural productivity in the region.
They hinged their position on the fact that many farmers have abandoned the profession due to frequent attacks by marauding herders and kidnappers.
They stated this during a virtual interactive session convened by Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN) Commission on food security in the South West zone.
Present at the meeting were commissioners for agriculture in Ekiti and Osun states, Mr. Adedayo Adewole and Mr. Olabode Adetoyi; Special Advisers to Ondo and Oyo states’ governors on agriculture, Prince Akinola Olotu and Dr. Debo Akande; Mr. Jide Arowosafe and Mr. Gbenga Osobu of Southwest Agricultural Company (SWAgCO), among others.
A communique issued at the end of the meeting by Director General of DAWN Commission, Mr. Seye Oyeleye, said securing farmlands was the most important step that should be taken if farmers are to return to their businesses and for an increase in agricultural produce in the region.
“The meeting agreed to strengthen the Amotekun Corps in order to confront the renewed onslaught on farmers working injunction with existing security agencies. The meeting also agreed to call on security agencies not to relent in their efforts in apprehending the criminal elements responsible for the incessant attacks and economic sabotage of the region’s agricultural economy. Farmers lives matter, the meeting agreed that everything must be done to ensure that farmers are safe and can return to the farms.
“Farmers and produce sellers must be allowed to carry out their trade within the ambit of the law and without any encumbrance and anyone attempting to disrupt such must be decisively dealt with.
“The states have noted with concern seeming threats to food supply chain, but will like to assure people in the region that adequate measures are being taken to ensure that the people are not adversely affected in the medium to long term. The states have agreed to work assiduously together in order to simplify access to land in the region for would be investors in agriculture.”
The meeting, however, mandated the DAWN Commission to convey the resolutions at the meeting to the South West Governors’ Forum, for critical steps to ensure food security in the region.