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Monday, May 28, 2012

Farmers call for involvement in cassava action plan

Pastor Segun Adewunmi
Nigerian farmers have call on the federal government to involved farmers in the cassava and other agricultural transformation agenda action plan for implementation purposes.
The national president of Nigeria Cassava Growers Association, Pastor Segun Adewunmi made the call recently at the ‘This Morning’ talk show on Television Continental.
The NCGAN president also commended the Lagos State government for its concern in the cassava sector with about 40 per cent subsidy on cassava input and 50 per cent off price of tractors used on cassava farms, stressing these are initiatives to encourage cassava producing in the state.
While applauding the federal government for the Cassava Transformation Agenda Action Plan which he said was organized in such a way that every farmer would be a beneficiary, asserting “The policy has to involve the farmers.”
The transformation agenda action plan during the Chief Olusegun Obasanjo’s regime, he said gave room for more use to cassava products for industrial uses as against the usual garri and starch only.
Pastor Adewunmi further said his association is working towards the eradication of unemployment among youths in the nation, which includes the recruitment of about 5 youths from each local government to be trained on agriculture extension services.
Over 5,000 youths, he said, are also to be involved monitor cassava growing in the nation with about one million farmers to grow cassava.
Women taking part in processing Garri
NaijaAgroNet learnt that cassava production cost in Nigeria surpasses any other cost of producing cassava anywhere in the world; hence this necessitated the proposal by the federal government to establish 18 large scale processing cassava plants for flour.
N300bn, Pastor Adewunmi said has been saved from flour importation as a result of the Cassava Transformation Agenda Action Plan which sees to the production of cassava flour. And increase of agricultural loan from about 1.03 per cent to about 3 per cent.
Part of the strategies by the association to improve cassava production, NaijaAgroNet further gathered is to ensure that every local government authority has a minimum of five extension officers who will supply agricultural inputs for their respective local government authority.
Uzo, a caller from Lagos affirmed that funds do not get to the right farmers as they are not part of the action plan, hence they cannot monitor the implementation process of the action plan.
Speaking in the same vein, the publicity secretary of Agbekoya Farmers Association, Chief Olatunji Bamidele affirmed the greatest challenge facing farmers in the nation to be lack of funds. The Agbekoya Farmers Association, he said had requested for loan from the federal government for months back which they are yet to receive any response as regards the loan. 
Chief Bamidele said any agricultural transformation agenda that excludes the farmers in the process have a very little chance of seeing the light of the day.
Yinka Awosanya/LS
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