Adamawa prepares for better farming season

Rebecca Mu’azu, Yola

Adamawa State government moves to make activities easier for farmers.

The Adamawa State government has promised farmers of timely and adequate farm input supply and mechanisation services, as the rainy season sets in for the commencement of a farming season.

The Commissioner of Agriculture, Waziri Ahmadu told Voice of Nigeria in the State Capital, Yola, that Adamawa Farmers should be sure of getting timely supply of fertilizers for the season.

 “The first batch of 90, 000 metric tons of MPK should be arriving the state in the next two weeks from Springfield Agro. … When they bring it to Yola, they will now do the distribution themselves, they will take them to stores around the state and they will sell it directly, using their own personnel to our farmers at a price less the subsidy component, because the government is still subsidising by a certain amount, Ahmadu said.

Distribution mechanise
He said a better distribution and selling mechanism had been adopted to ensure that the product get to the end users, especially farmers at the grassroots.

Subsidy regime
This, according to him, would be done through a subsidy regime and selling method adopted by the government, to reduce the cost of buying by the farmers.

Ahmadu encouraged farmers in Adamawa to start ploughing their land for planting while those in other northern parts have been urged to clear their farms, but wait a little before ploughing and planting their crops.

He stated that the government had laid the ground for enhanced yields since last year with the distribution of tractors and other farm implements to all 21 local government areas of the state.

“The state government is also putting some measures in place to ensure that farm inputs, such as fertilizer, seeds and so on, are sold directly from the companies to the farmers, through a subsidy regime to be put in palce,” Ahmadu said the.

The Adamawa state government has provided five tractors per local government area, to enable farmers at all levels have access to the machinery.

Government provides tractors
“In the interim, the governor had decided that through the local government system, the state will acquire a 105 tractors with relevant implements at least, to support Adamawa Agriculture. This is the first time this is happening over a decade in this state. The tractors would be distributed on equal basis to all local governments’ areas and we are still trying to work out how best to operationalise the equipment for the rainy season. In some local government areas, they’ve already started working and earning income for the local government. But, we will have a uniform approach during the rainy season so that many farmers can have access to the services of these equipment as possible,”
he stressed. 

Selling off farm products
t’s been observed that farmers sell off their products right on the farm, a trend described as economically harmful to them.

The Adamwa State Commissioner of Agriculture again said, the problem was not totally the fault of the farmers but that the government was working on a measure that would ensure the storage of the farmers’ product, which would in turn serve as an incentive for bank loans.

“Eventually we will collaborate with the private sector professionals to manage these warehouses, so that at the end of the farming season, the farmers after taking what they need, instead of selling off the surplus, they can take it to the warehouse. It will be prepared for storage and then a receipt issued to them. That receipt is evidence of what they have in the storage facility. We hope there will be financial institutions that will work with us in this scheme and with that receipt, they call it ‘the warehouse receipt’, you can go to a bank and borrow money and get into other businesses. That receipt is evidence of collateral that you have in storage,’’ he stated. 

The state government is hoping to put the warehouses in place at the end of this year’s farming season.

Challenges
Adamawa State is considered one of the leading producers of various food products in the Nigeria.

However, like most farmers in Nigeria, they face similar challenges, such as access to finance, access to affordable tractors and other farm inputs and mechanisation services, which are often acquired through the use of middlemen, who hire them at a very high price.

A retired civil servant who is also into agriculture products, Mrs. Neksiri Tongnakente said some of the challenges the farmer in Adamawa faced included access to finances to get herbicides, fertilizers, as well as the transportation of the harvested products from the farms to the storehouse.

“Another challenge is that of tractors. They give tractors to the people through middlemen. So before it reaches the peasant farmer, in fact, they don’t even have it and so most of them even use cows to plough. And even now because of recession or so, the people that rear them prefer selling them than using them to plough,” Mrs. Tongnakente added.

Mercy Chukwudiebere