2021: Farmers appeal to government for help against maize scarcity
Olubunmi Osoteku, Ibadan
Farmers in the Oke-Ogun area of Oyo State have cried out over their losses in the 2020 planting season, as a result of failed flood forecast and lack of government input, which they claimed might cause maize scarcity in 2021.
The Association of Farm Settlers, Ipapo-Iseyin Branch, made the disclosure over the weekend, after an emergency meeting was held to address the plight of their members who they said have lost millions of naira to the drought that affected maize farming in the outgoing year.
The farmers claimed many of them had decided against planting maize in 2021 due to unstable rainfall but later went into planting immediately the Federal Government, through the Department of Meteorology, and the Oyo State Government, through the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources, started a flood forecast campaign, that there would be lots of rain towards the end of October and November, which they thought would come to pass.
In a statement signed by the Chairman, Mr Alabi Kazeem, and made available to newsmen, the body claimed its members immediately went to access loans from commercial banks and from private individuals when they heard about the heavy rain forecast, which they believed would assist in late maize planting.
Kazeem stated, “It is very unfortunate that the failed forecast led to a staggering loss to our members, they lost millions in bank loans and borrowing from family and friends to plant maize. Many cannot even pass by their farms to see the withered maize farms, we are so hurt by this occurrence.”
“In as much as we are not blaming the Federal and State governments for issuing flood alerts to safeguard lives and properties, including those of farmers, we are using this opportunity to appeal to them to come to our aid, our members are running from pillar to post to repay loans they took from banks and from individuals”, he said.
The Chairman noted that the two tiers of government and the Central Bank of Nigeria should put in the best measures to avert food scarcity, especially scarcity of maize, in 2021, as most maize farmers in Nigeria lost their crops to the drought.
The Association of Government Farm Settlers, Ipapo-Iseyin Branch, which represents farmers in the Oke-Ogun area of Oyo State used the occasion of the emergency meeting to call on President Muhammadu Buhari to evolve new measures to assist farmers determine weather forecast and also provide basic support to genuine farmers.
The Chairman said, “Our fear for now is what will be the fate of poor Nigerians that depend largely on basic food items that are sourced from maize. It is easy to predict that there will be scarcity of maize next year with what happened this year, unless government quickly evolves a way out to assist farmers to surmount this problem.”
Noting that Governor Seyi Makinde has shown an unparalleled love for farmers in Oyo State and is out to make agriculture the major pillar to promote the State’s economy, the farmers appealed to the Governor to keep his promise and extend the funding from the loan accessed by the administration for the development of farm settlements to their Association, which represents the ten Local Government areas in Oke-Ogun.