By Adelola Amihere
Food Growers Association of Nigeria (FOGAN), the umbrella body for peasant and rural farmers in Nigeria says it supports the move by the federal government to reopen the nation’s borders as what it currently produces is not enough to feed her teeming population.
Addressing Journalists at a press conference in Abuja yesterday, the President, Joseph Owolabi attributed the rising cost of food to low production of food commodities saying most farmers who produce the bulk of food crops are rural farmers who still use traditional farming techniques.
“Nigeria’s population is too high. Even what our farmers produce at present and especially the way our rural farmers still operate will not be able to feed the country. If the federal government opens the borders, it will not affect us. It will boost the economy and the high rate of food will drop,” he said
For him, one sure way to crash food prices was to ensure a high production of food. To this end, he assured that FOGAN is set to bring an overwhelming turnaround to food production by 2022 by increasing its membership from three million as at last planting season to ten million before the year 2022 planting season as well as through a number of other interventions.
Owolabi said, “The association will train the grassroots farmers in modern farming techniques; provide modern equipment for farmers, such as tractor, harvesters sprayers etc. Equally, the association will initiate measures aimed at preserving and protecting the interest of the members
“The Association therefore is partnering with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural development of providing sprayers, seedling, tractors and other equipment in affordable rate .FOGAN has also, in partner with Nigeria institute of soil science under Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, keyed into the scheme to make the seeders robust.
“Provision of silos to store all perishable or non-perishable crops in all 774 local governments.
“The Association will partner with the Federal, State and Local Government to bring the majority of the youth, interested in farming to do it as agro business.
“In this regard FOGAN will collaborate with traditional rulers in the provision of arable land members in their localities, thereby Nigeria Agricultural Land Development Authority, NALDA, Our members will be given conducive environment plant the crops that suitable for their environment through Nigeria Institute of Soil Science to achieve a bountiful harvest.
“Availability of market for harvested crops will be certain through partnership with the Agro industry through small or large scale farming systems.”
Speaking further, he disclosed that plans are underway to ensure that any young farmer is provided with at least five hectares of land to produce any food commodity of his or her choice noting that “this practice will lead to flooding the market with food before the end of year 2024.”