From Oluseyi Dasilva Ilorin
Farmers in Nigeria have cautioned the federal government on the sale of Silos and BOA.
Dr Tunde Arosanyin, the National Technical Adviser of the All Farmers Association (AFAN) announced the caution to the Federal Government against a plan to sell or concession silos and Bank of Agriculture in order to ensure food sufficiency.
Arosanyin said that in an interview with newsmen on Thursday in Ilorin, that the expectation of farmers was that government would create more storage centres across the 774 local government councils in the country.
He told our correspondent “recently, we heard that the silos built by the previous administration were going into concession, sales and leasing by this government.
“We have thought otherwise that this government will spur food production and then mop the excess at the point of harvest at the minimum guarantee price to ensure that the farmers make profit and their investments in various farms.
“We expected government to even create additional storage centres in all the 774 local governments as being advocated by the last administration and even incorporate the cold system where even the Fulanis that have milk.
“This milk can be bought and stored there and then people and the dairy people and companies can come and buy directly from these silos”, he said.
Arosanyin, who is a former chairman of AFAN in Kogi said such plan amount to conflict of opinion within the robust policy of addressing hunger.
“We felt that government should have been able to reactivate these silos and use it judiciously to ensure that farmers get more money and during the increase in price of grains and commodities, government can release from these strategic silos to cushion the effect and the burden of increase in food crisis for the average Nigeria to buy at affordable prices.
On the purported plan to sell Bank of Agriculture, the AFAN chief explained that the advocacy at the last National Council on Agriculture was that the bank should be recapitalised.
“It was advocated that Bank of Agriculture needs to be recapitalised; ditto the Bank of Industry because these two banks have critical roles to play if this country must move forward.
“The Bank of Agriculture is to interface in primary production to be able to give loans to rural farmers at a single digit interest rate.
The bank presently is undercapitalised”, he said.
He, however, commended the Federal Government for cushion the effect of the bird flu disaster that led to the destruction of millions of birds during the last administration.
“This administration has tried to cushion the effect of the bird flu disaster that led to millions of bird that were destroyed.
“This government has been able to pay the remaining outstanding compensation to those that lost their birds and that federal government destroyed their birds”, said Arosanyin, who also is the national coordinator of Zero Hunger Commodity Farmers Association.