AT the approach of the rainy season, experienced farmers the world over put their agricultural machinery into action, making it easier for them to operate in a seamless fashion when the rains eventually come thus reducing the cost of their activities on the long run. With the coming of the rainy season, farmers prepare their seedlings for planting, knowing that such a step is important towards ensuring a successful harvest at the end of the year positioning themselves to enjoy government’s assistance through grants, loans or irrigation facilities. Thus, government’s assistance demands the need for farmers to adequately prepare for the season.
OF course, Nigerians clamour for technological changes in the agriculture sector, through the introduction of modern practices, but the reality of the situation indicates that the country’s farmers rely on rain-fed agriculture. In recent years, our agricultural sector has experienced tragic challenges through such occurrences as climate-change induced floods and droughts, impacting negatively on the quantity and quality of food and cash crops production in the country. Furthermore, the massive failure of crop production in 2020 for instance brought not only pain to the teeming population but also led to financial crisis among farmers, through reduced revenues and underemployment.
THE Hope commends the resilience of local farmers and urges them to realize that reduced revenues and underemployment can be mitigated through making a judicious use of the period before the rainy season, which can make farmers also plan for climate-change induced floods and droughts, by an intelligent understanding of their rain-fed agricultural practices. According to agricultural and meteorological experts, the official date for the commencement of the planting season starts from March 21 of every year, a date derived through the rigorous monitoring of rainfall patterns.
ALSO, some farmers use this period of the year to carry out rephrasing planting for such crops as pepper and cocoa, meaning they make preparations for nurseries to prevent the rains from catching them unawares.
IN addition, wise farmers usually clear their farms at this period of the year, so they can start planting as soon as the rains commerce, knowing that good preparation remains the key to agricultural success. For farmers not to be caught unawares by the rainy season, they must start rephrasing planting now, clearing their farms and rigorously monitoring the rainfall pattern in the days leading to March 21.
IN 2020, farmers lamented the impact of the Covid-19 lock down on their operations, as they incurred huge losses through their inability to have access to their farms and were forced to stay at home, doing nothing. During the period, many farmers became jobless, while others suffered from huge revenue losses, which continues to plague them till now. They must not allow themselves to be deluded by agronomists that high grain yields usually take place when crops such as corn get planted early, so they can take advantage of early preparation to blossom and grow.
THE Hope enjoins farmers to take advantage of the early approach of the rainy season to make necesary preparations for their farming business to grow and to recoup from the losses caused by Covid-19 as well as prevent the occurrence of job loss and unemployment. To ensure that farmers record huge windfall from their farms, farmers are advised to be proactive and mentally alert for the crucial rainy season. The Hope also reminds farmers to share information with other farmers to avert disaster and mitigate their losses.
OBVIOUSLY, the government has a role to play in food security and it should do this by physically and mentally preparing farmers for their responsibility to the nation by providing enough food to stem importation. We urge government at all levels to engage the right mobilisation tools to prepare farmers for the greater tasks ahead. No country is ever independent if it depends on foreign food to feed her nationals. Nigeria based on its recent experience must be fully prepared to stop food importation and to continue to do otherwise is suicidal.
THE federal government should make available improved seedlings from its research institutions to the state governments for onward transfer to local farmers. To keep the farmers on the field, the state and federal governments should improve on existing porous security situation across the country and stop marauding herdsmen and other anti-social elements from harassing farmers, promote sensitisation programmes through the radio, television, newspapers and the internet, giving out useful and timely tips to help farmers reap bountiful harvest
WE appeal to farmers not to be discouraged by incessant attack of herdsmen in the state as government has put in place enough security apparatus to protect them. As the back bone of the nation, necessary financial support in form of soft loans and grants should be made available to farmers to induce them and encourage others to go to the farm.
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