New Dawn Nigeria

Stakeholders hail Sterling Bank, call for more inclusion of farmers

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Some stakeholders at the Agriculture Summit Africa organised by Sterling Bank in  Abuja have commended the organisers of the summit but called for more inclusion of farmers in future editions.

The stakeholders, who spoke in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), said the bank did well in organising the programme that would change the face of the agriculture sector in the country.

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The summit with the theme: “Agriculture: Your Piece of the Trillion-Dollar Economy” had over 2000 participants with representatives from the U.S, Europe, Asia and some African countries.

Mr Daniel Okafor, the National President Potato Farmers Association (POFAN) said there was need for the government and the bank to carry along farmers in various decisions making that concern agriculture.

“Most times, when this type of programme is being organised they tend to forget the main people involved; they only care about memo writers and not the real farmers.

“Get the right people involves, treat our farmers with respect do not relegate us.’’

Okafor said that the N100 million set aside by the Federal  Government for farmers to develop agriculture needed to be sustained and given to the right people involved the agribusiness “and not just political farmers or paper farmers’’.

He also called on other donors to support agriculture in the country to meet international standards.

Dr Mukhtar Yusuf, a consultant and a lecturer, Agricultural and Extension, Faculty of Agriculture and Rural Development, ABU, Zaria, said the summit was educational and would help to promote agriculture in the country.

He said the problem was that the right people involved in agriculture were not carried along the way they should, adding that in the summit, many of the people that attended were in into farming.

“Farmers need to be involved in making policy that concerns the farmers instead of the top down approach without including the opinions and contributions of farmers.

“We need free flow of information to help development the sector; farmers need to know what is new about the sector in order to grow the sector and increase the nation’s wealth.”

He also said that for agriculture to develop; farmers should form part of decision making in agriculture sector and they should be given a voice.

Mrs Grace Iyanya, a small scale farmer said the programme was an eye opener for the small scale farmers to help develop and grow their farms.

She said that as the government and private sectors were getting more involved in agriculture, there was the need to work on security of lives and crops.

“I planted crops on my farm and after two weeks, I went back the whole crops had been eaten by cows and insects.

“ I want the Federal Government and other donors to see how they can help build security for the farmers and the crops to grow the sector.” (NAN)

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