Potato Farmers Cannot Access Their Farms ― POFAN President
The National President of Potato Farmers Association of Nigeria (POFAN), Chief Daniel Okafor has said that the worsening security situation in the country has made it difficult for potato farmers to access their farms either for harvest or planting.
Chief Okafor said this during the Unveiling/Launching of Training Handbook on Sweet-potato (OFSP) Value Chain Development /Presentation of Logical Framework for 2022.
He said he lost about 5 hectares of potatoes farm to theft perpetrated by locals and rampaging herdsmen.
“Insecurity is a very big challenge which everybody knows in Nigeria today as the major cause of food scarcity. Our farmers cannot go to their farms either to plant or harvest the planted crops due to insecurity around them”, he said.
He said the document being launched is a guide and lead way to successful potato value chain development in Nigeria which can equally help other African countries and the world in general.
“We believe that successful implementation of this Value Chain Development Initiative in Nigeria will help the country to achieve food secured nation at ease as potatoes can thrive well in all parts of this country”.
“We compiled this handbook to help us know the direction to follow to produce globally acceptable sweet potato and OFSP in particular”.
“The book covered everything you need to know about sweet potato production and other value chains developmental aspects including gender issues in agriculture”, he said.
He said the book is all encompassing as it covers, the health and economic benefits of OFSP and its recipes, sweetpotato production and production management, harvesting and post-harvesting management, pests and diseases of sweetpotato and its control, market and marketing.
Chief Okafor further stated that the book contains the importance of the Nigerian Agricultural Insurance Corporation (NAIC) to farmers, organic and dry season farming practices.
The POFAN of the National President said the training is targeted at a wide broad range of farmers which include the vulnerable, women, youths, students and civil savants and also those in the private sector.
“I urge all the necessary authorities in Nigeria to support our dream as farmers to make the achievement of food security easy in Nigeria”.
“Farmers, together we can change the ugly narratives people have about Nigeria farmers. This project is hoped to go round the 744 local government areas in Nigeria”.
“I equally urge all the stakeholders in the potato industry and agricultural sector in general to see the need to embrace potato value chain development as a lucrative venture worth investing in”.
“This is because potato is not just food crop but some varieties like orange-fleshed sweet potato also serve as a nutritional crop. This variety can serve the nutritional need of many Nigerians especially those in rural areas and urban cities alike”.
“We should also know that potatoes can be used in different ways to serve different purposes. It has different value added components as raw materials for different manufacturing industries both for baking and much other industrial use”, he noted.