By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
As rising food prices become major challenge across the country, an agribusiness firm, SWEER Global Farms, Monday, disclosed moves to boost productivity of smallholder farmers in South-South geopolitical zone with quality farm inputs.
This was disclosed by the Chairman, SWEER Global Farms, Dr Thaddeaus Thompson, while speaking on the need for big agribusinesses in the country to boost capacity and productivity of smallholder farmers.
According to Thompson, one of the major challenges facing smallholder farmers is access to quality farm inputs, which his company is already putting in place quality farm inputs for onward distribution to farmers in the South-South geopolitical zone.
He said: “Nigeria is a country with huge agricultural potentials that the world knows about, and that is why SWEER Global Farms has taken it upon itself to invest in the nation’s agricultural sector and also established integrated farms located in Amassoma, Bayelsa State that would contribute massively to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product, GDP, as we progress.
“The agricultural practice in Nigeria still largely remains at the small scale level because most farmers lack the capacity to establish large farms and are limited to where they have been over the years.
“SWEER Global has also discovered that these smallholders are serious to take their productivity to the next level as they want to increase profitability but lacks support, and that is why SWEER Global Farms is putting in place quality farm inputs that we will take to these farmers after we have done enumeration and gotten their data.
“Smallholder farmers in Bayeslsa and other States in the South-south geopolitical zone are going to be our first beneficiaries, and we believe if they get the farm inputs early it will help them to be more productive.
“It is a way of taking away the burden of buying needed farm inputs and we will also train them on modern agricultural techniques and technology. We have resolved to add value to these farmers with what we are going to offer them soon.”
He further explained that, “Government cannot do everything alone in terms of meeting demands of farmers, especially the smallholder farmers and that is why SWEER Global Farms will ensure these smallholder farmers who serve as Nigeria’s ‘food powerhouse’ are given attention through interventions that would benefit them and lighten their burden.”
However, he called on big agribusinesses to also assist smallholder farmers in their own way to boost food security.
“I know there are big players in the agricultural sector that are carrying out one intervention or the other to boost smallholder farmers’ productivity. I encourage them to do more and if that is done there is going to be enough food for Nigerians, and food prices will reduce while government address insecurity across the country”, he said.
He also added that, “We also need to make the smallholder farmers have a sense of belonging in the sector by synergizing with them because we are all stakeholders in food production.”