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Invest more in agric to avert famine, S/West govs charged

Southwest Governors have been charged to form a synergy and invest more in agric like their northern counterparts so as to avert the impending famine staring the region in the face.
The National President of Cassava Growers Association of Nigeria, Prophet Segun Adewumi declared this in an interview with Senior Editors of The Hope Newspaper.
He noted that the northern states have taken agriculture seriously with huge investment and that if they should stop bringing food to the southwest, the people would starve.
He also said seeking the advice of experienced people would also help the governors actualise their agricultural intentions for their people.
The Pastor in charge of Prayer Ministry said apart from available arable land in the northern part of Nigeria, there was huge investment on irrigation and mechanised farming.
He noted that a state in the north can boast of not less than 1000 tractors mainly for its farmers, while this is not applicable in the southwest.
His words: “In the whole of the Southern states, you scarcely find tractors. In the north, some state governments have over 1000 tractors. Irrigation is also on. Their agriculture is supported by water resources.
“So what we do here is subsistence farming. You can imagine the time when there was transport problem and food could not come from the north maybe six years ago, we were starving. I am a church man, we had an anniversary then and we had to postpone it. We couldn’t get condiments. So the north is actually feeding us.
“Government should call those of us who have experience in agriculture to come and help. They have good intentions but need people with experience, “he advised.
He submitted that if the government failed in this direction, only divine intervention could save the southwest from hunger, next year.
He however lauded the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Ondo state government for trying their best to prevent the danger.
According to him, the CBN had this year released N11 billion for cassava farmers, but could not be utilized due to lack of rain.
He said the harsh weather experienced had caused serious havoc to agricultural products, noting that apart from the drought experienced in the recent time, Adewumi said herdsmen have caused many farmers to weep with the wanton destruction of their farmlands
He said in the last two months, hundreds of hectares of cassava had been destroyed by herdsmen
“The experience has been very bad and can cause weeping. Right now we are writing to the CBN, that within the last two months, herdsmen have destroyed over 200 hectares of what we have been able to do. Cassava is the only plant that is green throughout the year, because it depends on dew.
“That makes it a target for herdsmen, especially during dry season. In one of our farms in Ipao Ekiti, they destroyed 75 hectares. We are doing our best to beef up security. There is also fear.
“There was a time we arrested some of their cows, but out of fear that they would launch reprisal attacks on the host community, we should the cows to be returned,” he said.
He commended Ondo State Government for creating market for cassava through the establishment of ethanol factory, saying that cassava could give more money to Nigeria more than oil due to its derivatives for limitless domestic and export potential.
The derivatives, according to the Cassava Growers Association President, range from raw materials to numerous other utility products and could trigger industrial revolution.
His words: “The first thing in agriculture is to create a market and Ondo State government has done that. What is needed is follow up, so that instead of the market coming from outside Ondo State, it will come from within the state.
“Ondo State does not have land for cassava alone but also for rice. The coastal land can be used for rice. It is also the largest producer of cocoa. More cassava plants should be established across the three senatorial districts. Cassava is difficult to transport because it has 70 percent water. Therefore it is good to have the processing factory close to the site of production.”
Adewumi suggested that ranching could be a solution to farmers/herders crisis, since it worked in other nations.

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