The Federal Government has been advised to fully subsidise agriculture to enable farmers make profit and for Nigeria to realise food security
The advice was given by the chief of Mutum-Biyu chiefdom in Taraba State, Alhaji Sani Kachalla, in an interview with Daily Trust. He said Nigerians have answered the call by President Buhari to embark on increased agricultural activities but noted that high cost of farm inputs and fake chemicals and fertiliser were hampering the efforts.
The traditional leader, who is also a large-scale farmer, disclosed that because of high cost of farm inputs, many farmers would not make profit from their produce this year. According to him, fake chemicals and fertiliser were sold to farmers across the state which not only increased cost to the farmers, but also resulted in low yield of many crops.
He said the cost of producing 100kg bag of maize was more than N12,000 and the current price of a bag of the produce is now between N4,000 and N6,000 in most parts of the state.
Alhaji Sani Kachalla explained that the news now making the round that the Federal Government has imported maize from India will further worsen the fortunes of farmers, especially maize farmers in the country.
“If the Federal Government wants farmers to remain in the farming business, it must subsidise farm inputs and also reintroduce marketing board,” he advised, adding that in advanced economies, agriculture was subsidised apart from other incentives given to farmers by governments.
The traditional ruler stated further that the federal and states governments have no option than to fully involve in agriculture as is done in most countries that have food security.
Alhaji Sani warned that many farmers would abandon farming if government failed to address the problem of high cost of farm inputs and provide good markets for farm produce. He said farmers were left at the mercy of middlemen who made bulk purchases of farm produce during harvest and sold during scarcity to make profit more than the farmers.
“Those advising the Federal Government not to subsidise agriculture or government to remove its hand completely are doing so for their personal interest and such advice will hamper achieving the food security ambition of the Federal Government,” he cautioned.