The All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) in Niger has called on the state government to provide more inputs and implements to farmers in the state for increased production.
Alhaji Shehu Galadima, Chairman, AFAN Niger, made the call on Tuesday during an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Minna.
“It is true that Niger government provided farm inputs and implements at subsidized rate this year.
“These inputs and implements are inadequate because we have over 1.6 million members of AFAN in the state.
“The population of Niger state is over 4 million and out of this figure 70 per cent of them are farmers,” he told NAN.
Galadima said that the NPK and Urea fertilisers provided by government were inadequate as the farmers need more of the commodities, especially urea to enable them achieve their target of producing more food.
He said that the farm inputs and implements available in the state are inadequate to meet the demands of the teeming farming population.
“We require more inputs and implements to utilise the arable land in Niger state, remember we have one of the largest land mass across the country.
“There is need to provide our small holder farmers with inputs such as improved seedlings, fertilisers and agro-chemicals.
“In the area of equipment we need more hand planters, power tillers and tractors to utilise our arable land and produce more food for the state and the nation,” he said.
The AFAN Chairman also appealed to the state government to deploy more committed agriculture extension service workers to help the farmers in modern techniques, especially the small holder farmers.
“Now that the rain has started with increased farming activities, there is need to have more and committed extension staff in the field to assist our farmers; especially the small holder farmers to enable them achieve their targets,” he said.
He enjoined the Federal Government and the state to intensify efforts in tackling the economic challenges associated with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and insecurity on farmlands.
According to Galadima, the measure will go a long way in helping the farmers settle down in their ancestral homes and concentrate on their farming activities.
He explained that the association had concluded arrangements to engage members in dry season farming this year to complement their wet season activities.
The AFAN chairman advised the state government to sandbag the existing natural water bodies across the state to help farmers water their farms during the dry season farming.
NAN recalls that the state governor, Alhaji Abubakar Bello while inaugurating the 2020 farming season on June 4 said that government would provide subsidies for fertilisers, improved assorted seeds and agro-chemicals to small scale farmers using the private sector.
Bello said that the measure was to ensure that the novel COVID-19 which has disrupted global socio-economic activities does not impact negatively on farmers in the state.
“The pandemic is also threatening agricultural activities for this season, a situation which has dire consequences on food security of the state and the nation at large,” he said.
According to the governor, the policy will give small holder farmers access to vital production inputs.
The governor had also said that for the 2020 farming season, 15,000 metric tonnes of fertilisers made up of 10,000 metric tonnes of NPK and 5,000 metric tons of urea would be delivered to designated government fertiliser stores.
This would cut across the 25 Local Government Areas of the state for sale to farmers.
He had said that the commodity would be sold at N5,000 and N7,000 per bag for NPK and Urea respectively and that other inputs such as improved varieties of assorted seeds and weed control chemicals have been made available at the sales point for easy access by farmers.
“These inputs include 457 metric tons of assorted seeds and 107,050 litres of various agro-chemicals,” the governor said.
However, Bello said that government had given approval for the rehabilitation of five irrigation schemes at Chanchaga, Agaie, Jamaare, Tamanai and Lioji areas of the state. (NAN)