Subsistence Farming Not Way To Go On Diversification – Sen. Misau

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Misau, who represents Bauchi Central in the Senate, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja on Thursday.

A National Assembly member, Senator Isah Misau, has urged the Federal Government to pay more attention to measures that would boost mechanised farming in its quest to diversify the economy.

Misau, who represents Bauchi Central in the Senate, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja on Thursday.

He commended the Federal Government for its efforts so far in the diversification process, but insisted that measures must be put in place for mechanised farming.

He said: “In terms of agriculture, I will rate this government 30 per cent.

“There is no doubt a lot of Nigerians have gone back to farm because of the level of poverty and hunger, but that is not the type of farming we are talking about.

“We are talking of mechanised farming, where people will have tractors and other modern farming equipment.

“Today in Nigeria, people are still using hoes to farm.

“Meanwhile, in the next 20 years, oil will be nothing because developed countries have started advocating for electric cars.

“I know one of the countries has given 2020 as its ultimatum. So, this is the right time for government to invest in agriculture and solid minerals.’’

The lawmaker also called for accessible loan facilities and other measures to assist farmers in harvesting produce that could be exported to other countries.

According to him, some farmers find it difficult to access funds, land, storage facilities and other necessary things required for increased yield.
He said: “One of the major problems in agriculture in Nigeria is funds.

“In developed countries, farmers are given like one digit interest rate or even zero per cent.

“In some cases the government encourages farmers by buying up produce and storing them up for processing either for local consumption or export to other countries.

“For us in Nigeria, it is difficult for farmers to even access funds from banks.

“Some farmers do not have access to fertilizer, which is still about N5, 500.

“We need government to release funds to industries that will produce fertilizer.’’

On recent export of yam by the Federal Government, the lawmaker said that while it was a welcomed development, it was ill-timed.

He said that the government ought to concentrate on enlarging agricultural scope through mechanized farming before proceeding to export.

He stressed that exporting yam with the present level of yield would lead to more hardship and increase in price of the product because there would not be enough to go round.

On consequences of frequent herdsmen and farmers clash on agricultural development in the country, Misau said that if not nipped in the bud, it would slow down the process of diversification.

He said: “If it means having grazing reserves or creating routes for the herdsmen, let us do that.

“As we know, about 50 years ago, routes were created for them but because of development, the routes were blocked by industries, farms or houses.
“If you try to stop them from entering the country, they will quote ECOWAS law for you. So, it will be difficult to stop them.

“I think the wise thing is for heads of government within the ECOWAS region to sit down and amend the law that allows free trade since development has blocked some of these routes.

“With the amendment, even if they will have free movement, there should be guidelines prohibiting them from entering farms, and farmers should be prohibited from occupying their routes.’’