Rural Farmers in the Federal Capital Territory FCT have begged the Federal Government FG For land allocations to enable them embark on massive production of food.
The farmers, among other challenges, bitterly complained on non-availability of land as a major constraint to farmers in the FCT.
The Farmers made the demand Monday in Abuja, during Avian Influenza (AI) sensitisation campaign and interactive session with rural farmers in Jikwoyi Phase 4, Karu Local Government Area of the FCT, organised by the African Centre for Food, Agriculture and Sustainable Development (Afri-CASD).
Speaking on behalf of the farmers, a Former Deputy Director Pest Control at the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr Joseph Olorunda affirmed that, to embark on a large scale farming, which will be beneficial to the country, there is need for the government to support farmers on acquisition of land for this purpose.
According to him, most of the land used for farming in the nation’s capital is either on lease or borrowed.
Another farmer, pleaded for more sensitisation especially as regards disease outbreaks and opportunities for local farmers.
The farmers, who converged at a central farmland hyped more on access to land.
Earlier, the Executive Director, Afri-CASD, Mr Bamidele Adanikin, expressed dissatisfactions over the challenges often faced by Nigerian farmers despite the importance of Agriculture to reviving the country’s economy.
He explained that not only are farmers at the mercy of buyers of farm produces, but are often faced with post-harvest losses in terms of perishable produces.
Adanikin stressed the need for the establishment of agriculture commodity marketing board by the government, so as to reward the labour of farmers.
While speaking on the FG’s free meal scheme for schools, the Executive Director, urged the Federal Government to develop a policy that will ensure that food commodities are gotten directly from local farmers.
He said, food commodities such as Rice, Garri, Fishes among others should be purchased directly from local farmers rather than importing these from other countries.
His words;”since government unveiled plans to embark on free meal for schools, which also reflected in the 2016 budget, government should ensure school proprietors, buy food commodities directly from the farmers. Rice, Garri, Fishes for instance, should be purchased directly from the local farmers rather than patronising importers of Rice from Malaysia, among other rice exporting nations.
“No doubt, this will show seriousness of the government to revive the agriculture sector as booster of our economy.
“I know it is better we get direct information from the farmers present , which is essence of this meeting but permit me to list a few which include post-harvest losses, whereby about 40 percent of farm harvests get lost to lack of storage facility.
“More importantly, is the infestation of pests as well as lack of easy access to finance such as soft loan. For emphasis, it is in this respect, Afri-CASD felt the need to organise this meeting.” he said.