Ibada – The All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Oyo State Chapter, has appealed to both the Federal and the state government to assist farmers in securing land to boost food production.
The State AFAN Chairman, Olumide Ayinla, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ibadan on Thursday that there was need to empower more farmers to boost food production in the state and the nation at large.
Ayinla said the association needed more farm lands for agricultural purposes, adding that it had written to the state government that the local councils in the state released 100 hectares of land to farmers.
“We have been sourcing for land in all the local governments in the state and we will need the backing of the state government.
“If the state government can compel each local government to give, at least, 10 hectares of land for farm settlement that will amount to 330 hectares from the 33 local governments in the state.
“We have presently secured 30 hectares of land in 13 local government areas of the state,” he said.
Ayinla called on the Federal and state governments to make soft loans available to farmers, which could be in the form of cooperative loans.
He stressed that with such support from government, there would be mass production of agricultural produce with the attendant boost in receipts of the state government as well as increased revenue base.
Speaking on the major challenges faced by farmers in 2015, Ayinla listed financing, land tenure, lack of rain, damage to produce and farmlands by cattle.
The AFAN chairman lamented the damage done to their farmlands by cattle of the Fulani/ Bororo herdsmen, saying this had resulted in several clashes between the herdsmen and the farmers.
He said many AFAN members were victims.
Ayinla added that the Fulani/Bororo crisis with farmers could only be minimised by the introduction of grazing reserves.
He noted that the Fulani/Bororo herdsmen, who wreaked most of the havoc to farmland, resided in the bush, but those who attended peace meetings with farmers and security agencies were the elites.
Ayinla said that the farmers were hopeful of better rainfall in 2016, which would allow for two or three harvest periods, unlike in 2015.
He said that the association also planned to ensure more training of its members in 2016 on various farming methods and other best farming practices. (NAN)