Cocoa and Plantain Farmers’ Association of Nigeria (CPFAN) on Friday in Akure urged President Muhammadu Buhari to address frequent clashes between farmers and herdsmen.
Its chairman, Chief Ayodele Ojo, said this would enhance Federal Government’s policies and programmes on food security.
Chief Ojo told a news conference that if the frequent clashes were not quickly tamed, there would be drastic fall in food production and it would complicate economic hardships orchestrated by COVID-19.
According to him, the Buhari-led government has performed creditably in agriculture, especially in rice production, but frequent killing has not allowed the performance to be felt.
“I want to appeal to Mr President and the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sambo Nanono, to call criminals among herders to order so that farmers can work. In rice farming, the president is helping a lot, but criminal herdsmen are killing many farmers.
“We are not happy how criminal herdsmen are killing our colleagues. The killing is too much.
“I want to appeal to criminals among the herdsmen that enough is enough,’’ he said.
The group also appreciated President Buhari and Nanono for providing some agricultural inputs in solving some endemic problems.
“We are grateful to Nanono for his warm receptions in Abuja late last year and early this year.
“We also want to appreciate the kind gesture of the minister in declaring national recognition for our group and also for providing us mobile and very effective fire-fighting equipment to solve some of our endemic agricultural problems.
“The fire-fighting pump has been very useful in putting out fire on our farms during this dry season,’’ Chief Ojo said.
Chief Ojo said the group had more than 28,000 members in 20 states and that members already cultivated more than 20,000 hectares of farmland in the FCT.
He urged the minister to include the association in government’s credit facilities and the Federal Government’s Nigeria Cares (N-Cares) project and in other palliatives.
“Farmers need support not only in production but also in expansion to meet international market and export standards.
“There is the need to include plantain farmers in the Anchor Borrowers’ programme. If farmers are included in N-Cares, it will encourage them to return to farm to guide against food shortage.
“The minister could also use his office to ensure inclusion of plantain and cocoa farmers in the medium-term credit facilities beneficiaries and help us to be included in N-Cares project.
“We also crave for palliative items like motorised sprayers, mechanical diggers for planting plantain, solo sprayers, agrochemicals, improved cocoa seedlings and plantain suckers,’’ he stressed.
Chief Ojo also enjoined the Federal Government to assist farmers in capacity building to increase their knowledge about post-harvest handling and packaging of plantain and cocoa.