In this interview, Alhaji Farouk Rabi’u Mudiis, the newly inaugurated president of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) spoke on his plans for Nigerian farmers, among other issues.
Having been inaugurated by the Minister of Agriculture, Sabo Nanono, what are your plans for famers?
First of all, we intend to establish a coordinated association. We also intend to develop a tentative data of Nigerian farmers. We will bring all commodity associations under one umbrella as a step forward in obtaining the needed farmers’ data on a single sheet.
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After doing that, we will look at the actual issues affecting Nigerian farmers, as well as explore all avenues that will provide proper solutions to identified issues. We also wish to address the issue of closing and reopening of the borders as it affects farmers, among other pressing issues that require the association’s intervention, such as internal and external prizing of Nigerian farm commodities.
We will also try to address the issue of current insecurity in regard to farmers’ production, especially as the wet season approaches in most of the affected areas.
Leadership crisis seems to have factionalised the association. How best do you think these factions can be harmonised?
As far as I am concerned, there are no factions in the AFAN. There is only one registered association with one constitution. Should anyone decide to claim the association’s mandate, that person has to follow the entire rudiment spelt out by the constitution.
As leaders, what we are working for at present is how we can move the association forward, how we can ensure that farming and farmers are better off than when we met them. These are our concerns at present, and we are optimistic that farmers will have it better than before.
You came at a time when the federal government’s policy seems to favour agriculture more. How do you intend to key in and make a good use of the opportunities?
The best thing we are trying to do is to see how we would be able to sustain the tempo and policies. We have seen how different governments came with different agricultural development policies, but sadly, such policies died immediately after government’s tenure expired. Such is the case with policies like Operation Feed the Nation, Green Revolution, GES, among others.
No doubt, the present Nigerian administration has indeed done very well for the agricultural sector; and we really appreciate it. Personally, I have never witnessed any agricultural policy with the potency of the current Anchor Borrowers’ Programme. However, we are certain that with the expiration of the present administration, the programme will cease to exist.
That is why we intend to encourage famers to step up and move towards achieving an independent agricultural entity that farmers will own up, promote and protect. We are strategising to ensure that the sector has become a private sector driven to the extent that we will determine the governmental policy that will drive us as an independent entity.