April 11, 2016

Netherlands wants Nigeria to professionalise farming

Netherlands wants Nigeria to professionalise farming

Vegetable farmers at work

Lagos – The Head of the Netherlands Delegation in Lagos, Mr Michel Deelen, on Monday expressed optimism that if Nigeria professionalises her farming systems, more young men and women would be attracted to agriculture.

Deelen said in Lagos that the time had come for Nigeria to professionalise her farming systems and move away from subsistence farming.

“Nigeria, with her huge natural and human resources, should know that farming is a profession that needs special skills.

“We strongly believe that for any country to expand her farming, the farmers should have the needed skills, knowledge, as well as adequate financing.

“This is where Nigeria should urgently begin to revive her agricultural extension services to old and new farmers, because the government really needs to train farmers,’’ he said.

The Netherlands official said that Nigerian farmers needed to have knowledge of the type of soil, seeds, fertilisers and farming equipment that would boost their food production.

Deelen, also the Netherlands Deputy Head of Mission, added that it was imperative for the Nigerian governments to give long-term agricultural credit facilities and loans to Nigerian farmers.

He urged Nigerian governments and financial institutions to emulate the Netherlands Agricultural Banks’ system of giving loans to farmers for a period of 100 years.

Deelen restated his Delegation’s commitment to assisting Nigerian farmers in boosting their food production, adding that the delegation was already discussing with some Nigerian farmers and government Ministries of Agriculture.

“The Netherlands, as we all know, is the world’s largest exporter of various agricultural products.

“We strongly believe that agriculture is an avenue from making money, as well as creating job opportunities for young Nigerians.

“We are ready to assist more Nigerian farmers and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture in engaging professionals in boosting Nigeria’s food production,’’ he added.