By Chidinma Ewunonu-Aluko
Ibadan – Prof. Lateef Taiwo, a Soil Scientist at the Institute of Agricultural Research and Training (IAR&T), Ibadan has advocated for proactive measures to enhance farmers’ access to inputs to achieve sustainable food security in the country.
Taiwo made the call in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Ibadan.
He said that the Federal and State Governments should initiate the process of making inputs available to the farmers at subsidised rate to encourage crop production.
Taiwo noted that the issue of affordability and accessibility dominates annual crop production space and stressed the need for pragmatic policies to create suitable environment to encourage agricultural productivity.
He said that government should accord priority to the provision of tractors, irrigation facilities, inputs, infrastructure and silos as well as development of processing and preservation technologies.
The soil scientist added that government agencies should also be engaged in the formation of farmers’ cooperative societies to enhance provision of credit facilitate to achieve sustainable development in the sector.
“Government should also encourage private sector participation in production, processing and value addition to the produce, this will create more employment opportunities along the value chain.
“Also, more local, regional, international markets, will be created and consequently increase foreign earnings, the government should also fund research institutes for development of agricultural technologies.
“The government is also advised to provide storage facilities aside from silos, the facilities will be in form of cold room with regular source of electricity for perishable produce.
“The government is encouraged to mop up excess produce, farmers will then be allowed to store produce at subsidised rate, if commodity associations are formed, they can be supported to establish storage facilities using government guarantee loans,” he said.
Taiwa further advised farmers to plant at appropriate sites and ensure early planting of cassava, maize and vegetables at the beginning of the rainy season to ensure healthy sprouting and good plant establishment.
He explained that the level of tillage required for the cassava and other crops depend on the type of the soil at the selected site.
The scientist added that areas with shallow or poorly drained soil, molds or ridges should be made where crops would be planted so as to encourage better root development and yields.