Maize Growers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria, Oyo state chapter has called on the Federal Government to make farming implements available for its members for optimal productivity.
Mr Israel Oluwagbemileke, the Chairman of the Association made the call in an interview with our reporters on Monday in Ibadan.
He said that the farmers needed farm implements such as tractors, seed planter, and harvester machine among others to enable them produce large quantity of maize.
He said that the lives of farmers and their household had not improved as expected because they could not transform farming into business due to lack of government’s support.
The chairman noted that the farmers maize production during the late harvesting season this year was not much difference from that of the previous year due to poor funding of the agricultural sector.
“Last year, we realized 4.6 metric tonnes per hectare while this year we realized 5.2 metric tonnes per hectare, the difference is small, we could have produced more if we had all equipment and funds needed.
“We have little improvement this year because we planted improved seed some of which are drought resistance and grew faster, also we had more rains this year than the previous year,” he said.
Oluwagbemileke appealed to government to make available grants and free interest loans to farmers to boost the production of maize and other crops in the country, saying this would also make farming attractive and lucrative.
“Let the government give grants to farmers, although they have been doing that but it gets to the wrong hands, let them ensure that the grant gets directly to the right farmers.
“The government should also provide little or no interest loan for farmers.
“Also let all farm equipment be subsidized by the government, if these challenges are addressed, I believe there will be increase in food production in the country.
“Our farmers are ready to produce food that will be enough for the country and even for export if we are adequately supported,” he said.
Oluwagbemileke however advised the farmers to always plant improved seeds with good agronomic practices while praying to God for increase.
He said that the farmers-herders crisis posed serious challenge to the farmers, adding that it had grossly affected production level and called on government to provide lasting solution to the clashes in the country.