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James Emejo in Abuja
The Food Growers Association of Nigeria (FOGAN) said it is ready to provide fertilizers, insecticide and seedlings at affordable prices to members nationwide in its contribution towards food security and employment generation for Nigerians.
The association also promised to bring the teeming youth population back to the farm with emphasis on as business rather than just a subsistence farming.
Addressing journalists at a media briefing in Abuja, National President of FOGAN, Mr. Joseph Owolabi, stressed that agriculture should be a business operated like any other business.
Specifically, he said the association would train the grassroots farmers in modern farming techniques, provide then with modern equipment including tractor, harvesters sprayers among others and initiate measures aimed at preserving and protecting the interest of the members.
He said the group would also partner with the federal, state and local governments to bring majority of the youths who are interested in farming into agro business.
He said FOGAN would collaborate with traditional rulers in the provision of arable land members in their localities working with the Nigeria Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA), adding that members would be given conducive environment to plant crops that are suitable for their environment through the support of the Nigeria Institute of Soil Science to achieve a bountiful harvest.
He further hinted on plans to provide silos to store all perishable and non-perishable crops in all 774 local government areas in the federation.
He said under the current initiative, availability of market for harvested crops would be certain through partnership with agro industry through small or large scale farming system.
He said: “Effort are on to encourage any young farmer to have at least five hectares of land which he or she desires to farm,” adding that, “this practice will lead to flooding the market with food before the end of 2024.”
Owolabi said: “The government has been trying its best since inception and this is why FOGAN is making efforts to complement the government.
“We cannot just fold our arms and expect the government to bring food to our table, as farmers we have our own role to play as artificial stakeholders.
“The association therefore is partnering with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in providing sprayers, seedling, tractors and other equipment at affordable rates.
“To this end, the association will increase its membership from three million as at last planting season to 10 million before the 2022 planting season.”
He added the intervention would significantly boost the contribution of agriculture to GDP going forward.