By Gabriel Ewepu
THE Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Muhammad Nanono, yesterday, said Federal Government’s Agricultural Mechanisation Programme will fail without farmers’ involvement.
Nanono stated this during a courtesy visit by the newly elected All Farmers Association, AFAN, executive led by its President, Farouk Mudi, in Abuja.
He said it has become imperative for AFAN to support the Federal Government in driving the Agricultural Mechanization Programme, while explaining the essence of the programme, as it would ensure food and nutrition security, job creation and boost the economy.
He said: “The challenge of feeding the nation’s growing population and creating a robust economy, food security and job creation would be a mirage without the farmers being fully involved in Federal Government’s Agricultural Mechanization Programme.
“There is the need for AFAN to be independently minded and more focused since it is a private organization and should be free from the influence of the Federal, State or Local Governments.”
However, the Minister also alleged that there were some persons who hijacked the association that are not really farmers.
“Those with little or no knowledge of farming or farmers, had hijacked the activities of farmers for their selfish interest against goals and objectives of the association. The Federal Government will work with AFAN as major stakeholder in the agric sector.
“There are three critical components of the Ministry’s policy thrust in which the desired transformation of the sector would become a reality which include Mechanization, Research for Improved Seedlings, and Effective Extension Services.
“We want AFAN to mobilize and sensitize farmers, especially in the Local Government Areas to key into the Programme when it is implemented as the Programme would be owned by the farmers”, he added.
Earlier speaking on their visit to the Minister, the President of AFAN, Farouk Mudi, urged the Minister to revisit and fine-tune the Growth Enhancement Support Scheme, GES, which would boost farmers’ productivity, create jobs, attract investors, and increase internally generated revenue.
“Agriculture should be seen as a business and not a cultural practice. It must be structured, developed and financed as business for us to fully unlock its potentials”, Mudi stated.