Many farmers are encouraged to go into mechanized farming by the new federal government policy on agriculture
| By Augustine Adah | Jan. 7, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT
WHEN Akinwumi Adesina, minister of agriculture, unveiled government’s programme on agriculture, he made a promise to make it a commercial venture in Nigeria. Not many people believed him. They regarded it as the usual rhetoric associated with a new administration in the country.
But few months after the declaration, many farmers are forming cooperative societies in order to realise the goal. One of such cooperatives is the Lagos State Mechanized Cluster Farmers’ Cooperative Societies. Established about a year ago, the organisation has already concluded arrangement to acquire about 2,000 acres of land for distribution to its members for arable and livestock farming in the state. The land is to be acquired on lease agreement from some communities in Epe, Badagry, Ikorodu and Ibeju -Lekki local government areas.
Felix Bankole, coordinator, Lagos State Mechanized Cluster Farmers, explained that the intention of establishing the cooperative was to mobilise farmers who have been practising subsistence farming to adopt mechanized farming. Bankole commended the Lagos State government for promising to assist the organisation in tractor hiring and other necessary implements. The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, IITA, Ibadan, has also agreed to supply high yielding cassava stem varieties to the farmers.
The coordinator promised that by March, the programme will commence as the agreement with a foreign agency for loans to members has almost been concluded. Members who are also interested in poultry and fisheries would be encouraged and assisted. Easy Simon, a farmer in Epe local government area, wants farmers to believe in the new agricultural initiative because the present administration appears more committed to the policy than the previous ones.
“I believe Adesina has a pedigree to fulfill his promise of revolutionalising agriculture this time around,” he said. Other farmers’ unions like the Nigeria Cassava Growers’ Association, NCGA, has also made adequate preparation for its members to go into commercial cultivation of high yield cassava variety next year.
Agriculture had been the mainstay of Nigeria economy until the discovery of oil in the Niger Delta region in the 50s. Since then, all efforts to revamp agriculture by successive administrations have not been successful.