Some farmers on Monday in Abuja, urged the Federal Government to ensure that farmers have easy access to soft loans to boost their productivity.
They said that the call was vital in guaranteeing food security in the country adding that agriculture remained the best option to reduce the nation’s dependence on oil as well as successfully fight youth unemployment.
According to Mr Kenneth Nwachi, a farmer said that improved provision of agriculture loans and modern equipment would enhance productivity of agricultural produce.
He also said that agriculture sector was in need of more investments to engage more farmers and address the rising cost of food items.
Nwachi also called for increased security for farmers, saying this would boost their confidence and dedication to their trade.
According to him, this will also encourage the farmers and attract more people into farming.
Nwachi said “most farmers are afraid of going to their farms due to the current insecurity in the country.
“Most of the farmers are rural dwellers but unfortunately their activities are under threat by insurgents.
“Farmlands are being destroyed by flood and other factors and the capacity to store food is another challenge.
These challenges have led to increase in the price of food in the market and this have negative consequences for famers’ income”, Nwachi said.
Similarly, Mr Jerry Okolia, a young farmer said that supply of agricultural equipment such as machines and tractors is one of the ways to boost agriculture in the country.
Okolia said that it would make the activities of the farmers less cumbersome.
While identifying lack of farm inputs such as pesticides and fertilizers as major challenges encountered by farmers in the country, he urged the Federal Government to support farmers with more inputs.
Also, Mr Michael Igoche advocated more incentives for farmers as a measure towards attracting more young people to farming.
According to Igoche, agriculture is where we have our comparative advantage over other countries because of the nation’s fertile land and good weather.
He further called for more empowerment and skill acquisition for farmers, saying that it would help improve their knowledge on crops cultivation and maintenance.
“This will serve as a critical tool in enlightening farmers towards producing improved quality crops for local consumption and export”, he said.