By Henry Umoru
FARMERS in the country have complained that they are yet to have access to the N 200 billion intervention fund by the Federal Government to increase food production.
As good as the governmentâ€™s intention is, they said it would be counter-productive if the fund failed to get to the people for whom it was meant.
The feelings of the farmers were disclosed by the President, Nigerian Society for Animal Production (NSAP), Prof. Udo Herbert, while speaking with newsmen in Ibadan yesterday.
He was speaking ahead ofÂ the 35th annual conference of the association slated for today.
He also lamented that it was wasteful for the government to be importing cattle and milk when there are capable famers who can do same in the country.
According to him, the conference tagged Fast-tracking Animal Agriculture in a Challenging Economy would be designed to address the teething problems facing food and animal production in the country.
Though the government had announced the disbursement of the fund, he explained that farmers in the animal production sector had not benefitted in anyway from the fund.
â€œThe economic recession affected our members who are into production. The N200 billion fund released by the government to boost agriculture is yet to get to us.
â€œWe are using this medium to appeal to the government to ensure that the N200 billion and the $440 million FADAMA 3 get to farmers.â€œEvery fund should get to those that they are meant for,â€ the association lamented.
â€œAnimal agriculture is one way to pull Nigeria out of the hardship – it is not only petroleum which may soon dry up.
â€œAnimal production is renewable and involves productive activities that will provide employment for many people.
â€œWe hope livestock will be given the pride of place.
â€œGovernment should fund the sector and the funds should get to farmers.â€œWe want government to ensure that funds are released and that they get to the people they are meant for.â€
He said farmers across the country as well as other stakeholders would gather at the conference that would take off today.