21st October, 2010
The proposal by Niger State government to bring South African farmers into the stateÂ will face protest from farmers in the state. Farmers who spoke to P.M.NEWS said theyÂ will reject in totality the idea of the state government introducing South AfricanÂ farmers in the state.
They said they will fight and protect their farmlands against foreign farmers whomÂ they discribed as invaders.
According to them if the state government succeeds in bringing them into the state,Â the local farmers will lose most of the farms they inherited from their ancestorsÂ just like it happened in Kwara State
Malam Makun, 70, and Mallam Shaba in Badegi Local Government of the state said bothÂ the federal and state governments confiscated their hectares of land for theÂ establishement of Badegi Rice Research Institute but the original owners did notÂ benefit from it. â€œNow we are told that the state government is planning to bringÂ foreign farmers; they should know that we are not going to give out our farms anyÂ more,â€ says Mallam Makun
Mallam Shaba called on the state government â€œto allocate government own farm landsÂ not those that belong to the poor farmers who rely on the few hectares of land toÂ feed their familiesâ€.
The state government said it has concluded arrengements to introduce the SouthÂ African farmers in the state with the aim of boosting food production as well asÂ introducing new and modern farming techniques to rural farmers in the state.
State commissioner of Agriculture, Alhaji Aminu Yusuf, said the foreign farmers willÂ engage in rice, maize, sugar cane and animal production. He said over six thousandÂ hectares of land that the visiting farmers will cultivate have been identified byÂ consultants hired by the state government, a project that cost the government overÂ N3million.
â€œThe report of the consultant identified 19 irrigation schemes requiringÂ rehabilitation and 6,200 hectares of potential irrigation sites that could beÂ harnessed,â€ the commissioner added.
On the protest of the state farmers against the coming of the South African farmersÂ in the state the commissioner said the state government has secured 1.0 billionÂ naira from the Federal government for on-lending to small farmers towards enhancingÂ their productionsâ€ already the structure and implementations and modalities haveÂ been approved by the government and funds will be distributed to the benefitingÂ farmers soonâ€