Nigerian farmers on Saturday called on the Federal Government to provide security, affordable farm inputs like seeds, insecticides, herbicides and fertilisers to boost food production.
Mr Kabir Ibrahim, President of All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), told our correspondent in Abuja on Friday, that farmers needed some level of mechanisation.
He said insecurity prevented farmers from going to the farm, adding that farmers needed a sense of security alongside other requirements to enable them to put in more work in the farms.
Kabir advised that what technology incubation centres across the country were able to produce should be boosted to facilitate indigenous technologies which could be applied in agriculture.
He said various farm tools and implements for tractors could be manufactured in the country via the technology incubation centres.
The AFAN boss stressed that instead of waiting to import the parts of a broken-down tractor, Nigeria should support and encourage citizens in local manufacturing.
He said that in recent times, it was becoming increasingly difficult to import foods, and to help Nigeria become self-reliant in food production, government should leverage genome edited crops and Genetically Modified Organisms.
“We need all efforts to make food available because now, you cannot even import, every country is on its own.
“Our scientists are busy, they need to be helped, we need to patronise them, their products should be made available to farmers.
“This is the only way to get out because you cannot go and buy food from anywhere,” he said.
Reacting to the recent concluded four-day workshop on genome, editing communication, advocacy strategy, organised by AUDA-NEPDA/NABDA, Kabir said it was a good initiative.
He stated that the confusion people brought into new and emerging technologies should never be mentioned, adding that real farmers were not even aware of all these.
“All that farmers want to see is to have good yield from seeds that are made available to them, they will not even ask questions,” he said.
He stated that what was required was for the conveners of the workshop to give the assurance that the methodology of what they were doing was safe for everybody.
According to him, the communication that farmers expect to hear is how to get the seed type, the cost, and the difference it will make from what they are already used to.
“For instance, we have a farmer who gets two tons of maize in the field and you are introducing a seed type that will give him four tons, he will definitely buy that and will not even care that some people are making noise, he will not even hear them.
“All he needs to do is to eulogise the possibility of improving his yield and the seed availability and affordability of the seeds,” Kabir said.
He said these were all what farmers wanted, that the real theme or the thrust of the communication strategy should be safety, affordability and ability to move them out of poverty.