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July 20, 2024

Southwest Region Stakeholders Call for  Increased Agricultural Funding, Improved Security for Farmers to Improve Food Production 

Nigerians in the South-West region have stressed the need for increased agricultural funding and improved security for farmers to enhance crop cultivation and reduce food prices. 

In separate interviews with newsmen in Ibadan on Tuesday, respondents shared their views on improving the agricultural sector and boosting food production.

They urged state governments to sponsor farmers to explore acquired lands and sustained farm settlements, which would help reduce the high cost of food items. 

According to them, governors in the South-West have significant roles to play in boosting national agricultural development.

Mr. Mustapha Badmus suggested that state governments invest in large-scale farming on acquired lands, farm settlements, and virgin lands, especially along the Ibadan-Lagos expressway. “With the blessing of arable land we have in the South-West, the states could put such lands to use to boost agricultural development and address food crises,” he said. He emphasised the need to revive farm settlements and extensions, ensuring that extension workers are actively involved in fieldwork rather than office duties.

Badmus also highlighted the importance of ensuring that loans and bailouts reach genuine farmers rather than being misused by so-called farmers. 

He suggested that if South-West governors followed the agricultural strategies of the late Obafemi Awolowo, there would be less reliance on northern farmers for food supply.

Mr. Sylvester Ramon, a farmer, pointed out the high costs of seeds, chemicals, and weeding materials, which contribute to the high cost of food. He also noted that transportation costs, driven by fuel prices, further increase the prices of farm produce.

Mr. Sunday Ogunjobi emphasised that security issues, particularly conflicts between farmers and herders, significantly impact food prices. He cited incidents of violence and destruction of farms by herders, which deter farmers from continuing their agricultural activities. 

Ogunjobi called for proper implementation of anti-open grazing laws and improved security measures to protect farmers.

Mrs. Modina Adekunle, another resident of Ibadan, called for the involvement of local government chairmen in improving rural roads to facilitate easier access to markets for farm produce. 

Mr. Emmanuel Adekunle, a Director in the Oyo State Ministry of Agriculture, highlighted Governor Seyi Makinde’s commitment to agricultural development. 

He noted that the state government has invested significantly in the sector over the past five years through sustainable intervention programs. The transformation of Fasola Farms into the Fasola Agribusiness Industrial Hub has created numerous job opportunities and stimulated local economies.

Adekunle mentioned that the government has distributed quality seeds, herbicides, and other farming tools to 10,000 smallholder farmers to improve crop yields and food production. Additionally, the government has provided support to poultry, fish, cattle, and piggery farmers, and subsidised tractorization by 50%.

To address security challenges, the state government has deployed local vigilantes and the Amotekun Corps to agrarian communities, working alongside conventional security agencies. 

Financial expert Mr. Samson Olalere criticised the neglect of necessary actions in the agricultural sector, which has led to food scarcity and hAndrew prices. 

He urged the government to focus on security and mechanisation of agriculture, rather than relying on food importation.

Nigerians in the South-West have clearly identified the need for enhanced agricultural funding and security measures to lower food prices and boost food production, calling for concerted efforts from state governments and stakeholders.

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