Delayed rains may affect food production this year, farmers lament

Posted by News Express | 22 June 2015 | 5,433 times

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Farmers in some northern parts of the country have expressed worry that the current delay in the rainfall may affect food production in the country.

Meteorologists had predicted that some northern parts of the country would experience delay in the arrival of rains this cropping season, while they were also advised not to rush to plant.

Some of the farmers told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that most farmers are yet to commence planting due to lack of adequate rainfall.

They said the situation posed serious threat to food production in the region this year.

One of the farmers, Malam Baushe Talle, said: “Rain is a factor in plant growth, therefore, the greater the rainfall, the faster the seed grows and the higher the yield.”

Another farmer, Malam Musa Abdu, stressed the need for government to provide farmers in the region with drought resistant seeds, to avert crop failure and ensure bumper harvest.

“Farmers should also be educated on different farming techniques because of this kind of situation,” he said.

In his contribution, Malam Lawan Kado advised government to reduce the effects of potential food shortage by buying the surplus directly from farmers.

“So if there is a shortage of food, the stored ones can be sold at cheaper prices in order to ensure that food prices remain affordable and stable,” he said.

Malam Musa Dogara and Malam Maiwada Karaukarau, canvassed for adequate budgetary allocation to the agriculture sector to ensure easy access to facilities and farm inputs required to sustain massive production.

According to them, such provision would ensure prompt supply of fertilisers, chemicals, improved seeds and farming implements, as well as credit facilities to farmers.

Commenting on the issue, the Secretary, All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Alhaji Garba Bichi, advised farmers in the northern states to plant their crops as soon as the rains start.

“Farmers should not wait for heavy downpour before they start planting because if they plant early, crops will mature before the rain stops,” he said.

Bichi urged farmers to embrace dry season farming as solution to inadequate or delayed rainfall.

“In fact formers must embrace irrigation in order to augment the shortfall during wet season farming,” Bichi added.

In his comment, Chairman, Kaduna State Commercial Agriculture Association, Malam Nuhu Umar, said timely provision of farming inputs including seeds and fertiliser, was key to sustainable agricultural production in the country.

“As long as farmers do not have timely access to inputs and at affordable price, they would continue to produce at a loss and this could pose serious threat to the country’s quest for food security.

“As such, the government must on a consistent level make available seeds, fertiliser, tractors and other crucial farm inputs as well as training us in modern farming techniques.

“This will go a long way to assist us remain in business and compete with other farmers from developed countries,” he said.

According to him, farmers are recording consistent drop in yield due to lack of access to vital farm inputs and adequate rains.

The chairman, however, commended the Kaduna State Government for providing 30,215 tonnes of fertiliser to farmers at subsidised rate and 186 tractors to be sold to farmers at 60 per cent discount.

AFAN Chairman in Kaduna State, Alhaji Nuhu Aminu, stressed the need for government at all levels to encourage agricultural mechanisation to enhance food production and security.

Aminu encouraged farmers to form cooperatives in order to access loan with which to procure tractors and other farm inputs to boost agricultural production.

The chairman identified lack of access to credit facilities and markets for agricultural produce as major setback to agricultural growth in Nigeria.

Aliyu observed that non-availability of markets had discouraged many people from continuing with farming activities.

An Environmentalist, Prof Ibrahim Jaro of Geography Department, Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, said the report which stated that over 90 million Nigerians are hungry, referred to those not getting balanced diet.

“What the report meant is that over 90 per cent of Nigerians are lacking balance diet. The fact that you eat three times a day does not mean that you are not hungry. You may eat yam at breakfast, Semovita during lunch and rice as dinner, but you only succeeded in taking carbohydrate, which will only supply you energy nothing else,” he said.

According to him, for a person not to be hungry, he needs to have a food that is well balanced.

Some peasant farmers who spoke with NAN appealed to government at all levels to stop paying lips service to agriculture and increase their budgetary allocations in order to boost food production in the country.

Meanwhile, the Kogi State Government said it has begun the distribution of N232 million loan and grants to 145,000 farmers in rural areas of the state.

A statement issued in Lokoja on Sunday by the Special Adviser to the State Governor on Media, Mr Jacob Edi, said the grant would be given to farmers on the platform of Nigerian Agricultural Payment Initiative e- wallet system.

According to the statement, the loan aspect of the package is being disbursed in phases by the state government in partnership with the Kogi Farmers Cluster Development Union.

It said that 145,000 rural farmers selected across the 21 local government governments in the state had been listed to benefit.

Also, the Federal Government said it distributed seeds and fertiliser worth N2.5 billion to rice farmers in Jigawa for the 2014/2015 farming season.

The Director, Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) in the state, Malam Ahmad Labaran, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Dutse that the farm inputs were distributed to 177,425 rice farmers in Hadejia, Kafin-Hausa and Auyo.

He added that each farmer was given two bags of fertiliser and 2.5 kg of improved rice seed, saying the items were given to the farmers at subsidised price. (NAN)

•Photo, courtesy of Reuters, shows Nigerian farmers at work.

Source: News Express

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