Ibadan – The South West farmers have resolved to work as a team to put its house in order and speak with one voice to enhance food production in Nigeria.
Development Association, Mrs Grace Oluwatoye made the remark on Thursday at the 2019 Oyo State All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) Congress held in Ibadan.Oluwatoye urged farmers to have a way of engaging government as the policymaker to get the best out of farming for farmers’ benefit. She said that farmers would have adequate rewards for their labour through appropriate protectionist policies that seek the interest of the citizens including subsidy to safeguard their losses in times of climate change.
“Farmers need to be united to make more progress, attend meetings, pay necessary dues, use modern technology information as back up and do more value addition to our products. “We need to collaborate with research institutes and use emerging information, data to our advantage, eat our best products for healthy living, if we are fully determined, we can obtain the desired country’s food security,” she said. The Leader, Farmers’ Commodities Associations, Mr John Olateru said AFAN was a coalition of all the commodity associations available in each state of the federation.
Olateru said that the constitution stipulated that the chairman of each commodity farmers association should come together as a body to constitute federation of farmers’ apex body in each state. He emphasised that all the farmers commodities could stand the test of time in terms of organisation and commitment to develop agro products along with value additions, if there was unity of purpose. Olateru said that the farmers groups had been divided into five zones in the state such as Ibadan zone comprising 11 local governments, Ibarapa – three local government areas; Oke-Ogun -10 three local government areas; Ogbomoso -five three local government areas and Oyo zone – four three local government areas. According to him, this will enable the farmers to monitor planting period for each zone to be able to control the level of default that arise as a result of climate change which is not uniform.
AFAN National President, Kabir Ibrahim, represented by Mr Segun Dasaolu, the Leader, S/W Farmers Association, underscored the need to re-organise and strengthen commodity associations in South West zone as a catalyst to agricultural development. Ibrahim said that there was need to enhance collaboration between commodity associations and research institutes in the development of the commodities along the value chain and fashion out roadmap for agricultural development in the zone.
“We need strong farmers groups in the South West to re-engineer our agric value chair system in the zone, to sieve out bad eggs among farmers and develop youth interest in agriculture, among others,” he said. He however commended the “Baale agbe’’, Head of Farmers of Oyo State, Alhaji Yusuf Akintola for his selfless effort in agricultural development in the state.