John Olateru, Oyo State Chairman, All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), on Tuesday said that inadequate rainfall was a big challenge for farmers in the South-West this year.
Olateru told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ibadan that all the crops planted by farmers had dried up due to lack of rainfall.
“Farmers have to start all over; unfortunately, a hybrid seed that can solve this problem is not readily available and where you are able to get it, it is at a prohibitive cost.
“Government and Nigerian Seed Council need to be up and doing in the area of seed. “A situation where there are seeds that can provide a minimum of six tons per hectare, compared with the seed that will give you two tons with the same efforts require serious attention.
“Seeds that will not give our farmers profitable yield should not be allowed into the market; the grain farmers need all support they can get to mitigate the challenges they are facing,” he said.
Olateru urged the government at all levels to assist farmers in getting correct seedlings and provide highly subsidized fertilizer and chemicals to the farmers.
He appealed to the government to support farmers financially to mitigate the losses they had experienced due to the COVID-19 pandemic and other related issues.
“For livestock farmers, it is unfortunate that all the companies the government-issued import permit to are foreigners that are operating in the livestock industry, not a single Nigerian benefited from this.
“They are competing with Nigerians; with what the government has done, they have been given competition advantages.
“Nigerian livestock farmers are now at their mercies and this is a bad solution to the challenges at hand,” the association chairman said.
Olateru stated that the National Grains Reserve silos at Iyana-Church, Ibadan, which had been concession as a private company was a big mistake by the government.
“The silos are now being used to mop up grains from the market and manipulate the price of foodstuffs.
“These silos are better used for its original intention, which is for grain strategic reserve; that is, governments warehouse grains at the time of excess and release the same at the time of scarcity.
“Now there is scarcity, the government has little to nothing in their reserves to mitigate the challenges,” he said.
According to the chairman, the solution is that the government should bring back the commodity exchange board.
“The exchange board is in a position to know what is being produced by farmers, what the consumers’ needs are and know if we have excess for export, or needed to import,” he said.