Commercial farmers in Badagry area of Lagos State have appealed to government to provide agricultural incentives such as inputs and tractors for land clearing ahead the 2021 planting season.
The farmers, under the aegis of Nigeria Commercial Farmers Association (NCFA), Badagry Chapter, made the appeal during the association’s end-of-the-year party and Inauguration of its new executive council on Friday in Badagry.
The new Chairman of the association, Pastor Emekpor Armstrong, said that the country’s agricultural sector needed a lot of subsidy, not just in form of cash to farmers, but through the provision of conducive atmosphere to boost production.
“The subsidy we are calling for is not in form of cash to our members. The subsidy we want include ready-to-plant lands.
“By clearing land for our members, by helping us interface with all types of land owners who gather to disturb during planting and harvesting period.
“Subsidy also include provision of bulldozers for land, swamp dozers for swampy areas, provision of food preservers for perishable products,” he said.
The chairman urged the government to give inputs directly to each registered association and occasionally monitor the activities of beneficiaries.
He also appealed to the relevant government authority to find a lasting solution to multiple police checkpoints on the Lagos/Badagry expressway.
Armstrong said that the police were making transportation of produce to the market difficult for farmers.
The commercial farmers said that the 2020 agricultural year was fraught with lots of challenges.
“No farmer anticipated the emergence of COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath on the whole world.
“Its suddenness affected lots of farmers. In the poultry sector, a lot of eggs were buried, birds died as a result of restrictions on movement.
“Fishery sector suffered the same thing, especially the producers of fingerlings who could not access buyers.
“As for crops, the story was not different and by the time government realised that the farmers needed to move their produce to the city, more damage had been done.
” And not all farmers had access to the pandemic pass after the COVID-19 lockdowns, the rush for the few available produce pushed the price of commodity up viz-a-viz the high cost of production, transportation including extortion by police, and bad roads,” he said.
In his remarks, the outgone Chairman, Pastor Ola Ezekiel, implored the incoming executives to do more and build on the legacy of their predecessors.
Ezekiel implored government at all levels to do more for local farmers to boosting production in the coming farming season.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that other members of the new executive are: Mr Yewhenu Kayode, Vice Chairman; Mr Akinkunmi Olusegun, General Secretary and Mrs Akinwunmi Juliana, Assistant General Secretary.
Others are Mr Adisa Salau, Treasurer; Mr Owolabi James, Assistant Treasurer; Pastor Samson Onabanjo, PRO; Mr Sunday Emmanuel, Assistant PRO; Mr Balogun Moses, Financial Secretary; and Mrs Chinor Rose, Women Leader. (NAN)