Farmers in Benue State have identified major problems which militated against their occupation in 2018 to include inaccessibility to improved seeds as well as inability to access funding among others.
Some of the farmers, however, expressed optimism that the year 2019 would provide government opportunity to tackle such issues that have kept the country behind in Agriculture so as to invest properly in the sector for increased income.
A big farmer in the state, Vitalis Tarnongo, pointed out that the major problems for farmers in 2018 included non-availability of inputs (improved seeds), noting that Benue farmers had none or limited access to improved seeds as mostly what they planted were grains with low germination rate and poor ability to withstand adverse environmental/harsh conditions.
He added that lack of adequate rain fed which affected germination of crops (Rice) resulted in weeds taking over the farms while attacked by insects, due to low rainfall as well as insects infestation which became prevalent and thus poor yields of crops such as maize and sesame.
Tarnongo also emphasized that the no access to funding was an issue considering that Benue farming communities are mostly peasant, the farmers had high expectation as the government promised to help farmers but failed.
“So some farmers expected in vain and could not farm after they cleared fields,” he said.
He also said it was a challenge that much of the farmers could not access their farmlands due to the fear of attack by herders throughout the year 2018.
Tarnongo, however, expects that in 2019, there will be less expectation on government as farmers now understand the dynamics as he further hoped that 2019 will be better because some farmers will go back to their farms as there already seems to be fewer herders attack.
Another farmer, Sunday Ogili, said the major problem of farmers in 2019 included weed control because most of the inputs like herbicides often failed to give expected results when applied.
“If you cultivated yam, for instance, you find it difficult to control weeding turning thereafter to manual labour as an option because the herbicides failed. Besides, most inputs like fertilisers in the open market are adulterated so all these problems combined leads to poor yield,” he posited.
Ogili nevertheless expects better weather this year as he stressed that enough rainfall till the month of October would play a major role in the realisation of bumper harvest coupled with the availability of good inputs.
Similarly, a female farmer, Joyce Ndyer, noted that the lack of improved seeds, inability to funding and the crisis which sacked rural dwellers from their homes and farms are major factors against farming progress in 2018.
Ndyer appealed to governments at all level to improve on security in the year 2019 and to create enabling environment for funding to thrive for the teeming farmers in the state so that agriculture will take its proper place in the scheming of things.
In Kano state, the state Chairman of All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) Alhaji Abdulrasheed Magaji Rimingado revealed that in the year 2018 farmers in the state have faced problems associated with inconsistent government’s agricultural policies that will guarantee an enabling environment for agriculture to flourish.
He added that last season farmers in Kano state were affected by flooding and alleged nonchalant attitude by government officials on the flight of the affected farmers an action he termed as detrimental to the success of agriculture in the state.
The state AFAN chairman also revealed that farmers in the state expect a stronger association that will cater for the needs of farmers in the state with little or no government efforts in 2019 adding that what had happened in 2018 was an eye-opener.
Similarly, the state chairman of Tomato Outgrowers Association of Nigeria (TOGAN) Alhaji Sani Danladi Yadakwari stated that tomato farmers in the state have in 2018 enjoyed relatively a sizeable percentage of state government’s intervention. Farmers have received a very good seed variety that has helped the farmers.
Yadakwari further revealed that tomato farmers have faced terrible moments with adulterated inputs especially fertilizer adding that tomato farmers have also faced the problem of increase in the price of inputs and poor market.
He added that another problem faced by the tomato farmers in 2018 was that of non-compliance of government agencies on tomato policy as approved by the federal executive council.
Yadakwari further revealed that tomato farmers’ expectation in 2019 is to see effective implementation of the national tomato policy for robust tomato production in 2019.
For some Nasarawa farmers, no one can trust the quality of herbicides you buy these days; they are so numerous with new brands that appear good but have no effect in weed control.
“When you complained, you will be told that you did not apply it correctly” Adamu Bako in Akunza at the outskirt of Lafia explained.
But for Emmanuel Luka, in Karu, 2018 was a good year for him. For the first time in his life, he made up to N250,000 from rice alone-something that has changed his life.
“My only fear is the farmers-herders conflict. If it happens, here again, life can be worse as we experience a few years back when we had the issues. I hope government deals with this issue squarely so that farmers can prosper in an atmosphere of peace,” he said.