As activities for the 2022 planting season commence, the Executive Director of the National Centre for Agricultural Mechanisation (NCAM) has called for a more robust security network for farmers in order to boost food sufficiency in the country. Executive Director, NCAM, Mr Muideen Yomi Kasali, explained that the on-going insecurity could pose a threat to the multi-billion naira farm inputs and farm mechanisation expected to be used during this year’s planting season, leading to food crisis and insufficiency in the country’s agricultural sector.
Kasali noted that insecurity issues in Nigeria are enormous, adding that its dire consequences on agriculture could spark off famine in the country. The executive director explained that many farmers were ready to go back to their farms, but for fear of possible attack. According to him, “insecurity is also crippling local farmers access to modern farm technology inputs since they cannot finance the hiring of modern farm equipment to work on their farmlands.” Kasali explained that non-embracing of agric insurance policy by local farmers was also one of the factors militaristic against their access to farm input equipment.
He said: “As we prepare for the general elections in 2023, we need to equally realise the importance of food production, if we must survive as a nation. Food production is a longterm scheme that requires meticulous planning. We need this to avoid famine as a nation. “Many farmers by now are ready to go to farm, but majority of them are afraid of insecurity on their farms, thus making them shun farming.
The Federal Government is doing its best to secure our forests, but it can’t do it alone. It will require the assistance of our traditional rulers and our local hunters.” The executive director stressed that mechanisation of Nigeria’s agric sector had been identified as a major albatross to the country’s quest for selfsufficiency in food production and, at the same time, saying that it was also one of the most relegated priorities in national planning policy. Kasali pointed out that both government and critical stakeholders in the sector had agreed that Nigeria need to mechanise her agriculture in order to boost food production and also help other parts of Africa in agric provisions.
He said that Nigeria’s explosive population and the effects of climate change on development were becoming prevalent in agric sector. According to him, “what is however very depressing about the whole brouhaha on the much touted agricultural mechanisation is that it has remained a sing-song with discouraging discordant tune. “Over the years, several policies that have evolved on the agricultural mechanisation in the country, were, and still are just mere paper work, with multiple corrupt avenues to pilfer public funds. “During President Muhammadu Buhari’s first term in office, Chief Audu Ogbeh was the minister of Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD). For the period he was in the office as minister, with the help of his political allies, he started singing ‘agric mechanisation and 10,000 tractors programme.’ “He even by-passed the National Centre for Agricultural Mechanisation (NCAM) located in Ilorin, Kwara State, and signed several Memorandum of Understandings with different companies on farm mechanisation.”