Following Federal Government’s constitution of Presidential Taskforce on food prices reduction on Wednesday, farmers under the auspices of All Farmers Association of Nigeria, AFAN, Kwara State Chapter yesterday, vehemently rejected the move by the government.
This stand by the farmers was made known by the Chairman of the Kwara State Chapter of AFAN, Olawale Ajibola, who described the decision by the Federal Executive Council, FEC, as wrong planning and timing.
He demanded that all farm inputs should be subsidised before the government can tell farmers to reduce prices on farm produce.
Ajibola said farmers were not consulted and no of them are aware of the decision before the government before constituted the inter-ministerial task force.
He said: “If I may ask do the federal government subsidise farm inputs, which power do they have to reduce the cost of feed? It is only when you subsidise farm inputs you have the say to tell farmers to reduce the price of commodity.
“The government should first tackle the issue of input subsidy before talking about price reduction of food from the farm to the market. How much are we buying fertiliser in the open market? If a farmer buys a fertiliser at an expensive price and you are telling such a farmer to sell his produce at a reduced price in the market is that that possible? Can that law to force food price down work? It will never see the light of the day.
“What did the Buhari-led government do since they came into power since 2015? Since 2015 the federal government has done nothing on agriculture, and if they have done anything it was on selected states and not all over.
“If they are talking about price reduction on foodstuff is a wrong planning at the wrong time. Let there be subsidy for all farm inputs and when there is reduction in all farm inputs; when farmers can get fertiliser, seed at a subsidised price and like what happened in 2013, 2014 during Jonathan’s regime on the Growth Enhancement Support Scheme, GES.
“When food is produced abundantly in all the states naturally the price of food items will come down but when there is no subsidy on farm inputs and you want to enforce reduction in food production it will not work and is impossible.”
He also cautioned the government over the enforcement on food prices reduction, which according to him will be resisted and followed by crisis across the country if the move would not be suspended.
“What we want is the government should suspend the move indefinitely because they want to mess themselves up and cause crisis across the country.
There is going to be resistance definitely because they cannot force farmers to sell at a reduced price and we the farmers will revolt in Kwara State against any force to reduce food prices when we don’t get farm inputs at a cheaper rate. Are they the ones paying for labour in the farm?” he queried.