The Chairman, All Farmers Association of Nigeria, AFAN, Lagos Chapter, Otuba Femi Oke, has said that a radical reviving of agriculture and the agro-processing value chain remained key to the nation’s economic transformation.
Oke pointed out that much more value would be created in agro-processing than primary farming, especially in view of the potentials in processing for high quality jobs and creation of market for farmers.
The AFAN boss said it was important that more of the food that people consume should be produced in the country as this will assist with growing jobs and the economy.
“The choice of buying locally produced products is for everyone, and it should be a priority. Right now, too much of the food that we consume in this country is not produced locally, it is produced somewhere else and imported,” he said.
Oke further highlighted the different instruments the government can use to support the buy local campaign such as infrastructure that can sustain agriculture and provision of incentive programmes to support agro-processing and aquaculture.
He added that the government could use trade policy instruments, which would make it a necessity for all manufacturers to strictly abide by international standard in their processed foods production.
Oke charged the Federal Government to make sure the farmers were fully involved in its policy making processes, especially those that concern the farmers and farming activities.
He said the farmers, who were in the field, were in the best position to give the government good advice and direction towards the development of the sector.
The AFAN leader particularly wanted the farmers in the rural areas to be carried along, noting that most of them are completely excluded from the government’s decision making. He also said the local farmers need to be fully funded if the government really wants to improve agricultural activities.
According to him, the raw materials needed by the big companies along agricultural value chains are produced by the local farmers, empowering them would mean increase in the production of the raw materials needed for the economic development of the country.
He lamented that most of the government’s intervention fund are out of reach of the local farmers, who need them most. He then called on the governments at all levels of governance to restrategize restructure their intervention supports in a way that the local farmers would be the major beneficiaries.
Source:: National Mirror