Abia State chairman of the Maize Association of Nigeria (MANN), Hon Onyekachi Erondu, has said the country’s farming system is not attractive to the youths because it has remained a machete-and-hoe affair.
Erondu told LEADERSHIP Friday in his office in Umuahia, the state capital that as the farming season approaches, drastic actions should be taken because the system can never produce the quantity and variety of food needed to feed the growing population.
According to him, “This is why the sector has continued to fail to attract the participation of the teaming unemployed youths,” who he said, with their education and energy should have been on the driver’s seat.”
He said modern farming had gone beyond what was being practiced in Nigeria taking into cognisance that food security and sufficiency had become one of the primary objectives of most economies even those with unfertile land.
The MANN chairman said if the sector was well organised to begin with mechanisation through production, processing and marketing, it would have before now become the fastest growing with viable job windows.
In furtherance of this, the agriculturist called for a national arrangement for states to specialise in areas where they have comparative advantage in crop production, adding that this would enhance food production.
He expressed worry over the level of insecurity farmers were facing across the country due to banditry, herder/farmer clashes, kidnapping, cattle rustling and boundary dispute among others, as he called on governments at all levels to find solutions to it.
Erondu said modern research has established that maize could be planted up to three times in a year and charged members of the association to maximise the opportunity to boost food production and their revenue.
He also appealed for early supply of fertiliser and other agriculture inputs to farmers for mass food production in addition to the provision of tractors by the local government councils for hire to make the sector less cumbersome.