The All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) in Edo says that the Federal Government will not be taken seriously until its cassava policy is fully implemented.
Alhaji Abdulahi Mohammed, the Edo North Coordinator of AFAN, said this in Auchi on Thursday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
Mohammed expressed regret that the Federal government laudable agricultural policies and programmes were not fully implemented.
He said: “Many farmers had gone into massive cassava production in the past and were left to wallow in penury at the end of the day because the policy was abandoned halfway into its implementation.
“Under the Olusegun Obasanjo administration, many farmers went into massive cassava cultivation but we all lost out as the policy was not adequately implemented.
“Most of us borrowed heavily from banks during the period but got nothing in return; some of us are still servicing that debt as I speak with you,” Mohammed said.
According to him, most cassava farmers incurred losses due to low market price even when processed into garri.
Mohammed noted that part of the problem with the cassava policy was that it lacked a comprehensive market guarantee and incentives for its production.
He also stressed the need for government to encourage farmers by establishing processing plants in areas with high cassava output.
He also said that mechanised farming would production cost and drudgery.
“There must be a deliberate attempt by the government to strategically locate these plants so that farmers will be left with the business of cultivating the crop.
“Farmers will also be encouraged to go into cassava production, if the return on investment is guaranteed.''.
NAN reports that the Federal Government policy of 20 per cent cassava flour inclusion in bread is aimed at maximising the potential of the crop. (NAN)