Farmers have called on the Federal Government to suspend its plan of acquiring 500,000 hectares of land for farming activities in Nigeria but should rather address the menace of insecurity in the country.
President Bola Tinubu last Thursday declared a state of emergency on food security as the Federal Government stepped up efforts to tackle food inflation following the removal of fuel subsidy.
Special Adviser to the President on Special Duties, Communications and Strategy, Dele Alake, said the President is not unmindful of the rising cost of food and how it affects the citizens.
Alake explained that the Federal Government would activate land banks nationwide, which currently stand at 500,000 hectares mapped, “to increase the availability of arable land for farming which will immediately impact food output.”
Reacting to this, proposal, farmers said the government should concentrate more on security challenges in order to boost their confidence to return to the farm.
They opined that farmers are presently demotivated and are not willing to go to farm since they are not sure of their safe return.
Those who spoke with The Hope include; Mr Elijah Oluwagbotemi; Ile-Ife based farmer, Mr Philip Samson; Kaduna based farmer and Mr Bewaji Ayodele; CEO, Begro Food Empire, Akure.
Mr. Elijah Oluwagbotemi said the plan of the government to acquire this amount of land for farmers is a welcome development but the menace of insecurity should first be addressed.
“Security of lives is of more importance and paramount, hence should be on government’s priority list.
“I feel the intention of the president regarding acquiring 500,000 hectares for farming purpose is a good one but the government should ensure that it first address the issue of insecurity before implementation.”
Mr. Philip Samson who is into large scale production of tomatoes, potatoes and cucumber in Kaduna State said most of the farmers no longer farm for commercial purpose, they rather farm for the purpose of consumption.
“This is because their farms are no longer secured. Majority of them have now returned home and depend on the little cultivation within their compound for survival.
“A bag of potatoes is now sold for more than N20,000 from an initial price of about N10,000.
“If insecurity is not handled, the tendency is that farmers will still not be willing to farm even if the government acquire the land as proposed. Security is of more importance.”
Mr Bewaji Ayodele, the CEO, Begro Food Empire said the government’s move is a welcome development and a clear possibility.
“This is a national project that is obviously overdue, we are where we are today because our leaders are not taking these steps all along. I also see this as a golden opportunity for those having this kind of vision already.”