The Nigeria Farmer’s Group and Cooperative Society has harped on the
need for less bureaucracy in the implementation of government policies
on Agriculture. The National Coordinator of the Group, Retson Tedheke
said this, Thursday, while addressing newsmen after a media tour of
the Group’s 1000 hectare farm located at Gaati, along Keffi-Akwanga
road, Nasarawa State
Tedheke identified challenges facing Nigerian farmers as slow response
of government agencies to farmer’s needs. He said while expecting
government agency like the CBN to intervene in their farming
activities, the Group has decided to start plough and cultivating with
the little resources available to it.
“…Because if we wait for them, the season will come and go and, as you
know, farming depends on rains.”
The NFG Coordinator said, the Group expects to engage in both rainy
and dry season farming. “…They have also promised to dam part of this
area, so that we can have artificial water for dry season farming.
Because we are going to farm both rainy and dry season.”
He bemoaned a situation whereby, monies are given to commercial banks,
who will in turn, loan it to farmers and cut-throat interest rate.
“For CBN to give money to commercial banks before giving it to farmer
at cut-throat interest rate, is a “great disservice.’ What is wrong
with the CBN coming to the farm site to inspect what is on ground, if
they are satisfied, they can now go ahead and allocate resources based
on what they have seen, instead of giving it to commercial banks?”
Tedheke revealed that farm project is capital intensive for Groups to
finance from lean purse available. He charge the CBN, through The
Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System For Agricultural Lending,
NIRSAL, to rise up to its responsibilities by intervening ‘in good
time.’ So, that Nigeria can begin to dissipate her huge food import
The Group acknowledged that farming was a gold mine but insisted the
cost of opening up farmlands is huge. They solicit for sustained
government support in opening up of more farmlands.
Tedheke observed that the concept of economic nationalism which is at
the heart of how countries grow, will be mirage, except Nigeria move
quickly to prioritize Agriculture. He emphasised that the Group
intends to replicate the two farms it currently has in all the
geo-political zones of the country.
He revealed that the group’s innovative farming has become a uniting
force for Nigerians both at home and in Diaspora. “This noble idea
must be given all the support it requires to succeed. This is a Centre
of ‘national unity.’ All our cooperative members are Nigerians at home