The All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) has alerted the nation of an impending food crisis across the land following the escalating insecurity, withdrawal of subsidy from farm inputs, including fertiliser and lack of access of farmers to loan and other facilities.
Speaking at the flag-off and sale of fertilizer for the 2021 cropping season by the Niger State Governor Abubakar Sani Bello in Minna on Tuesday, the state Chairman of AFAN said: “There will be food crisis in Nigeria therefore, governments should do more to return farmers to the farms.”
Galadima recalled that as a result of insurgency, banditry and other forms of insecurity across the country, many farmers have relocated to safer towns, thereby abandoning their farms, adding that in Niger State, 11 out of the 25 local governments have been affected by one form of insecurity or the other resulting in farmers deserting their villages where they used to engage in farming.
He also said that many farmers last season could not harvest their crops as a result of bandits’ attacks, while those that succeeded to do so lost the harvests to bandits thereby making them to be in position of serious financial crisis.
The AFAN chairman said: ” The only way for farmers to be able to produce this season is for government to subsidise the price of fertilizer and other farm inputs. The federal government should review its decision to withdraw subsidy from the sale of fertilizer.”
Galadima also said that AFAN has discovered moves by “some unscrupulous elements to adulterate fertilizer” and therefore urged the federal government to “checkmate these people and their activities”.
Flagging off the sale of fertilizer and the 2021 Farming Season, Governor Bello, who was represented by his Deputy, Alhaji Ahmed Mohammed Ketso, fixed the price of a 50kg bag of NPK brand of fertilizer at N8,000, saying that government will also continue to focus on subsidising production inputs to small scale farmers to ensure availability and ease access to genuine fertilizer products and thereby curtail the activities of middlemen.
Bello said so far, 15,000 metric tonnes of fertilizer have been procured and delivered to designated government stores in the 25 LGAs for sale to farmers at the approved subsidised rates.
“The Niger State Government will continue to support the activities of development partners funded projects and programmes in the state and the FADAMA projects to boost food and cash crop production,” he said.
The Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Alhaji Haliru Zakari Jikantoro, in an address assured the farmers that the ministry will work with stakeholders to achieve government’s aim of modernising agriculture.
Jikantoro said with proper planning and commitment by everybody “Niger State can be the hub of agricultural production in the country”.