SOME women in agriculture have appealed to the Federal Government to fulfil its promise and hasten the distribution agricultural palliatives to farmers to cushion the effect of fuel subsidy removal.
They made the plea in separative interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Lagos.
They noted that the effect of fuel subsidy removal had become unbelievable for women in agriculture.
The women also decried the continuous hike in the price of agricultural inputs, thereby posing a great threat to the nation’s food production and self-sufficiency.
Alhaja Mulikat Ogunlola, the President, Women in Agriculture, Lagos State, said the current situation was creating increased hardship for women.
Ogunlola, a farmer and food processor, said the hike in the price of fertiliser, poultry feed, fish feed and other agricultural inputs was discouraging women from farming.
She urged the Federal Government to intervene by distributing the palliative urgently to salvage the situation.
She said the palliative should be distributed equally and appropriately among all farmers.
She urged President Bola Tinubu and the Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Dr Mohammed Abubakar, to fulfil the promise to women in agriculture.
According to her, a lot of women are struggling to continue farming due to the hardship caused by the removal of subsidy.
“The cost of transportation, inputs, feed and fertiliser have discouraged many of us from farming due to lack of support.
“We are really grateful to the Federal Government especially, the new government that we have now; they promised and we are very hopeful that the promise will be fulfilled.
“For the time being, the promise they made to the women, we are yet to receive at the federal level.
“For the state level especially Lagos state that we are in, they have been trying for us; we have gotten some things from them and that is what is keeping us going for now.
“From the federal, especially what the first lady, Sen. Oluremi Tinubu promised women. We read it recently that the first lady said women will be support in various ways including financial support,” she said.
Ogunlola urged the government to involve various agricultural groups in the distribution process to prevent hijack by political farmers.
She said the government should interact and distribute the palliative through the various existing groups which majority of farmers belong to.
“We are looking up to all that they promised us; we don’t know how the government want to share the subsidy palliative that it will get to women in agric and smallholder farmers.
“We don’t know how they want to share the fertiliser, grains and inputs, that it will go round all the farmers.
“The palliative will really make a huge difference if shared equally and appropriately.
“We want the government to work directly with various farmers’ associations such as the All farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Women in Agriculture and others, that will go a long way.
“If the government can come through the association, I am sure it will get the right farmers.
“Meanwhile, we are still waiting for the subsidy palliative in Lagos,” she said.
Also speaking, Mrs Adenike Taiwo, an aquaculture farmer, urged the government to support women in agric with feeds and grants.
Taiwo said the price of fish and poultry feeds were becoming too expensive and unbearable for farmers to sustain their businesses.
According to her, every Monday, the feed sellers always increase the price of both poultry and fish feeds in the market.
“The situation is getting to a level where we can no longer afford it. We want the government to come to our aid by subsidising the price of these feeds.
“We are not making profit from what we are buying now and many of us are operating at a loss.
“We want government to fulfil its promise on distribution of palliatives to farmers to cushion the effect of the subsidy removal.
“Business is worst now, we spend a lot on electricity and petrol to pump water daily and what we make after sale is not enough to cover our cost of production,” she said.
Alhaja Afolake Olaide, the Lagos State All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) Women Leader, said members of the association had not received any palliative almost six months after fuel subsidy removal.
Olaide urged the government to hasten the distribution process to other parts of the country.
She urged the government collaborate with various farmers’ association for even distribution.
“We are appealing to the Federal Government to work closely with farmers association whenever they want to distribute the palliative.
“We have not received any palliative from the Federal Government in Lagos except the food items.
“We are yet to receive the fertiliser, grains and other inputs.
“We want them to release it to us so we can use it for the dry season farming.
“The smallholder farmers are the local farmers, we are closer to the people and the market, we really need the support to continue to produce food for the nation.
“The palliative will really help us to produce more and it will bring down the price of food in the market,” she said. (NAN)
November 6, 2023 @ 18:23 GMT|