Farmers in Oke-Ogun area of Oyo State under the banner of Association of Farm Settlers on Sunday said failed flood forecast and lack of government input in agriculture would make maize scarce in the year 2021.
The farmers said it’s members lost millions of naira in the year 2020 planting season as a result of government ‘failure to support agricultural produce.’
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Daily Trust reports that Oke-Ogun area of Oyo state is regarded as the food basket of the entire southwest states of Nigeria.
The group made this disclosure in a communique issued after its emergency meeting held in Iseyin area of the state to address the plight of maize farmers in the state.
The farmers claimed many of its members had decided not to deal with maize planting again because of lack of farm implements and manpower.
In a communique signed by their Chairman, Mr Alabi Kazeem and dated Saturday 26th December, 2020, which was made available to newsmen in Ibadan on Sunday, the body claimed its members immediately went to access loans from commercial banks and private individuals to plant maize when they heard about a better future but turn out to be false rain forecast.
“Many of our members have decided not to plant maize again because of the poor and unstable rainfall, when they heard about the government’s forecast through the meteorology department as well as the rigorous campaign from Oyo State Ministry of Environment and Water Resources that there would be lot of rain towards the end of October and November, they sought for fund to plant maize.
“It is very unfortunate that the failed forecast led to a staggering loss to our members, they lost millions in bank loans and borrowing from family and friends to plant maize, many cannot even pass by their farms to see the withered maize farms, we are so hurt by this occurrence.
“In as much as we are not blaming the federal and State government for issuing flood alerts to safeguard lives and properties, including those of farmers, we are using this opportunity to appeal to them to support us, our members are running from pillars to post to repay loans they took from banks and from individuals.”
The communique further said the two layers of government and the Central bank of Nigeria should put in their best measures to avert food scarcity, especially scarcity of maize in 2021 as most maize farmers in Nigeria lost their crops to the drought.
The Association of Government Farm Settlers, Ipapo-Iseyin branch which represented farmers in Oke-Ogun area of Oyo State used the occasion of the emergency meeting to call on President Muhammadu Buhari to evolve new measures to assist farmers determine weather forecast and also provide basic supports to genuine farmers.
They also extended their call to the governor of Oyo State to keep his ‘promise’ of extending the coverage of funding for farm settlements to their association which represented the ten local government areas in Oke-Ogun from the recent loan accessed by the administration to develop the farm settlements.
“Our fear for now is what will be the fate of poor Nigerians that depend largely on basic food items that are sourced from maize, it is easy to predict that there will be scarcity of maize next year with what happened this year, unless government quickly evolve a way out to assist farmers to surmount this problem.
“Our governor in Oyo State has shown an unparalleled love for farmers in Oyo State and we can all see that he is out to make agriculture the major pillar to promote the State’s economy, we are calling on him to please extend the funding from the loan for farm settlement to us at Oke-Ogun,” Alabi pleaded.