By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
Following the closure of land borders by the Federal Government, farmers under the auspices of All Farmers Association of Nigeria, AFAN, Monday, expressed readiness to produce more food for Nigerians.
This was stated by the Vice President of AFAN, Chief Daniel Okafor, in a chat with Vanguard, while speaking on the action by the government over the closure of land borders.
Okafor who also doubles as National President of Potato Farmers Association of Nigeria, POFAN, said the decision of the government remains a welcomed development and described it as a good one.
He said: “So we throw our weight as farmers behind border closure action by the federal government because it is a good one. We as farmers are going to supply food to Nigerians and we are ready to go the extra mile to produce food for our people.
“This is a clarion call to our farmers to be serious with this issue of border closure and food production because the onus lies on both government and farmers to meet the demands of Nigerians.
“The border closure is a good decision by the Federal Government now it is talking about diversification of the economy from oil to other sectors that have huge potentials to generate foreign exchange, create jobs and sustain the livelihoods of Nigerians.
“It will go a long way to protect the agricultural sector in order to achieve successful diversification of the economy.
“We cannot be talking about diversification while our borders are like leaking basket, which all kinds of agricultural produce are dumped into our markets, which are mostly substandard and inimical to our health as a people and negatively affect our economy.”
However, the farmers raised concern over the timely release of budget for the agricultural sector as it is a season bound sector based on weather conditions.
“We are appealing to the government on timely release of the budget and it should be from February 2020, not until raining season will come and flood will devastate farmlands and frustrate us and food production becomes difficult. So we want the budget and farm inputs will be released on time.
“We have all seen the reality of climate change and it should be considered for the release of needed funds that would facilitate food production by our farmers.
“We want these releases promptly so farmers will swing into action on their farms because we as farmers work with times and seasons for a bumper harvest and cheap food for Nigerians to buy”, he said.