Governor Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State has sounded a warning that only real farmers would benefit from his administration’s policies geared toward revalitasing agriculture in the state.
Govenror Sule handed down the warning while receiving in audience at the Government House officials of the Association of Small Scale Agro Producers in Nigeria (ASSAPIN), on Wednesday.
While noting that farmers are partners in progress, considering that the state is agrarian, with agriculture as the base of the economy, the governor said all the policies of the administration are targeted towards promoting and empowering the small scale farmer.
He further disclosed that arrangement has reached advanced stage for the state to secure a loan facility from the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) at a single digit but that only real farmers will benefit from the loan.
He appealed to politicians to allow only those who are truly in need, those who will spend all their time farming, as according to him, the loan is going to ease off a lot of suffering of the people.
He urged officials of the ASSAPIN to embark on a sensitisation campaign to attract the attention of serious farmers, with a view to collecting the loan towards generating employment as well as creating outgrowers.
The governor noted that though the type of revenue expected to accrue to the state is better attained through commercial agriculture, his administration is targeting all its policies at the small scale farmer.
He added that in order to further boost the capacity of the small scale farmer, the state government is working with two private companies, Azman and Dangote to improve the yield of local farmers.
According to Governor Sule, “Azman is coming to Toto Local Government Area to take up 12000 hectares of land in order to produce rice in the area.
“But they don’t want to cultivate the entire 12000 hectares. They want to keep maybe about 3000 to 4000 hectares and share it amongst outgrowers in the area.
“And they will come with the right seeds that will have the kind of yield that you require so that you can harvest twice a year,” he explained.
The governor further explained that in the same vein, Dangote is also coming to Doma Local Government Area, seeking to acquire 100000 hectares of land which they will use to produce seedlings for rice.
“They are not even producing commercial, which means they will produce the seeds they will distribute to outgrowers within the state,” he said.
Governor Sule stressed that only genuine farmers will benefit from all these interventions, adding that his administration will not tolerate individuals collecting either the loan or inputs only to divert it to other use.
Earlier, state’s President of ASSAPIN, Jonathan Joshua, said they were at the Government House to share with the governor the Farmer’s Manifesto, which articulates the needs and concerns of small scale farmers.
The association commended the governor for selling fertilizer to farmers at the cost of N3,500, which ASSAPIN said is the cheapest in the country.
The state president took out time to reel out the challenges confronting his members, which include among others, access to finance, post harvest loses and agricultural insurance for farmers in the state.