Mr Femi Oke, Chairman, All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Lagos chapter, on Monday commended the Federal Government for the continuous closure of land borders.
Oke told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN ) in Lagos that the closure had motivated farmers to carry out more production to meet the increasing demands, describing it as a good development.
He said that farmers would ensure that there was food security and also food sufficiency because of the involvement of more people in farming.
“We are now coming to realise that it is very necessary for us to come back to agriculture.
“We discovered that most of the produce done outside the country were coming in illegally and this has encouraged most of our farmers to do more on our production.
“We don’t normally export through the borders at all; most of our exports pass through the ports, but the ones coming through the borders are the illegal ones.
“I can tell you today, there is virtually no virgin land lying fallow anymore; they are now being utilised by our people.
“When you come to livestock, the crops, integrated farming and so on in these commodities, people are taking advantage of this closure to expand.
“We are going to get there by the grace of God; we love this government that is in place because they have taken agriculture as a very key component to improve our economy,” Oke said.
He said that the importation of rice through various land borders had almost ruined the nation’s economy in spite of the fact that government spent so much on rice cultivation.
“I can tell you today that every state is now agitating to have their own rice.
” If you go to the East, the Abakaliki rice is on board; in the North, there is Arewa rice and Kogi rice is also on board; and coming down to the Southwest, Lagos is championing with Kebbi State the Lake Rice.
“Even in Ogun State, the Ofada rice has come on board. So, we are now trying to come back to our local rice which was rejected for so long.
“We are grateful about that too and we are being encouraged by the World Bank, under Appeal programme,” he said.
According to him, there are three major commodities to be sponsored by the World Bank under the project.
“Rice, poultry and aquaculture are the three major commodities; we are happy in Nigeria of today due to the support of World Bank,” Oke said.
According to him, it has now been realised that it is very necessary to come back to agriculture.
“I can tell you that cotton, which had been neglected, is coming back on board; the Moringa seed is now there and many of our farmers are now making use of its oil.
“The importation of most of these things coming in through the border illegally doesn’t pay us.
“We farmers are very happy about the continuous closure of the borders,” he said.