10th October, 2011
Farmers in Edo State have called on the Federal Government to give priority to agriculture, saying that agriculture was critical to the revamping of the nationâ€™s economy.
The farmers acknowledged that the government had espoused robust policies for boosting agriculture but expressed doubt if the programmes would be implemented as enunciated.
â€œIf our economy will be boosted, the government must give priority to agriculture,â€ All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) Coordinator in Edo North senatorial district, Alhaji Abdulahi Mohammed, said.
He remarked that all the government succeeded in doing over the years was to make policy pronouncements that were never translated into reality.
Mohammed told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that if given priority, agriculture was capable of turning around the nationâ€™s economy â€œdue to its multiplier effectâ€.
He also said that the sector had the potential of tripling current earnings of the country, maintaining that there were many areas in agriculture craving for harnessing.
According to him, the sector will not only create millions of employment opportunities and boost food production, it will also strengthen export activities.
â€œThat is not all, when most people are gainfully employed, stability will be ushered into the nationâ€™s security challenges and there will be enough raw materials for local industriesâ€, he added.
The AFAN coordinator said, â€œIf half the amount of what is voted for security is used to develop agriculture, the present security challenges would have been averted.
â€œThe security challenges and pockets of unrest we are having here-and-there are caused largely by unemployment.
â€œThere is need for government, at all levels, to faithfully implement policies on agriculture already made public on the pages of newspapers.â€
Mohammed also tasked the government to ensure that the real farmers were identified and charged with the responsibility of driving the policies that would transform the sector.
â€œWe have discovered that over the years, the real farmers were often sidelined when it comes to implementation of government policies on agriculture.
â€œThe farmers know what the sector needs to develop and so will do everything to see the programmes through,â€ he asserted.