29th August, 2017
Plateau State Government has engaged 400 extension workers to teach farmers improved methods to mitigate loss of Irish potatoes across the 17 Local Government Areas.
Mrs Lynda Barau, the Plateau Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural resources, stated this at a stakeholder’s town hall meeting organised by Voices for Food Security (VFS) in partnership with Country Women Association of Nigeria (COWAN) on Tuesday in Jos.
She said Plateau was known in Nigeria for Irish Potatoes cultivation but have suffered losses over the years due to climate change.
“The extension workers will be posted to communities in the 17 LGAs soon to assist farmers.
“I advise farmers to listen to them because some officers complained of farmers recalcitrant attitude of saying their forefather’s used the same method and got bumper yield, so refuse the improved method,’’ she said.
Barau said the Ministry would work with women who are 60 per cent farmers’ population in facilitating land clearing for cooperative cluster farming and early delivery of farm inputs.
“The State government will facilitate their access to farm inputs at subsidised rates from manufacturers.
“The state’s abattoir will be renovated to boost animal husbandry business as Dangote company will establish an Agro-Allied investment on wheat and maize in Plateau,’’ she explained.
In her remarks, Mrs Jessica Vonkat, the Coordinator of COWAN in Plateau said that climate change was deepening the scale of poor farm yields, poverty, hunger, unemployment and their consequences.
She said that agricultural operation was not focused on supporting small holder farmers, research, knowledge development and dissemination and extension services.
“Women farmers lack resources to access farmlands, assets; farm inputs; knowledge and market information. Government at all levels should take appropriate measures in terms of policy formulation and implementation to address issues of food security,’’ she said.
Women farmers complained of stringent conditions for access to loans, especially for widows.
Some stakeholders alleged that government’s agricultural interventions were being hijacked by friends and families of politicians.
The meeting was also supported by Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA) Resource Centre.