Farmers under the auspices of All Farmers Association of Nigeria, AFAN, Sokoto Chapter, Wednesday, assured President Bola Tinubu, to promote food security with the commencement of dry season cultivation of different crop.
Speaking on the food prices that have compounded suffering and survival across the country,, the Chairman, AFAN, Sokoto State Chapter, Jamilu Sanusi Mohammed, disclosed that farmers are putting effort into ensuring food availability and affordability by Nigerians in the State.
He noted that AFAN has resolved to change the current narrative in the agricultural sector with farmers’ return to the farms.
In his words, “We have started raising nursery for onion as we have started the dry season farming activities. We are preparing our land for wheat and onion. There is no problem, investors are already in.
“At the level of cooperative, we have signed a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, with a company for farm input for 10,000 hectares with no single kobo from anywhere.
“Meanwhile, the State Government has procured 100,000 bags of fertilizers. In the next two weeks we will start distributing these fertilizers as palliative for our farmers.
“Also the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security has given us the template to capture our farmers biodata, and we are targeting about 80,000 farmers, who are wheat farmers, and we are targeting 10,000 hectares for wheat production so that soon the high prices of bread, noodles and custard will be checkmated.”According to Mohammed, over 80,000 rice and wheat farmers are being mobilized under the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security scheme.
“By February 2024 we will commence rice cultivation and we are going to cultivate 10,000 hectares for rice production but some areas in Sokoto State that don’t experience harmattan will be given their rice cultivation inputs in the next two weeks.
“For the Federal Government to come in we are yet to ascertain that but we are mobilizing 80,000 farmers for it. “Already we have started mobilizing farmers across the local government areas of Sokoto State to come over for their forms and start capturing,” he added.
Sanusi also affirmed that, “there is hope for Nigerians to have food in 2024, which we are giving out solar-powered pumping machines instead of using petrol to do the irrigation.
“This is our concern as farmers about the sufferings of Nigerians, and so we are working hard to see how to beat down the prices of food by eliminating the cost of irrigation.”
He said: “For the solar-powered pumping machines, our farmers will pay in three years period, and we are looking at 10,000 pumping machines. It will be for all the farmer cooperatives but for 2,000 wheat farmers and we learnt their cooperative wants to also give them solar-powered pumping machines, which also they want to scale it up to 10,000 wheat farmers, and all these will be in November 2023.
”The Sokoto AFAN boss said farmers have taken their destinies in their hands to protect themselves and their farms, and there is no cause for alarm.
“There are isolated cases of attacks because it is a very large forest of 200 square kilometers but those bandit attacks do not stop farming activities because people have organised themselves and raised a strong vigilante group.
“With this farmers have respite, and it is good if people would have alternative force to face these bandits than to sit down and being attacked and killed does not add up,” he submitted.