The Oyo State chapter of All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) has called on the federal and state governments to subsidise the price of farm inputs to boost agricultural productivity.
The state AFAN Chairman, Olumide Ayinla, made the call on Friday in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ibadan.
He said that the price of farm inputs such as seedlings, chemicals and fertiliser, among others, had increased by100 per cent.
“Fertiliser, formerly sold at N4,000 a bag, now costs N9,000; chemicals, formerly sold at N800, now cost N1, 800, while the cost of 2kg. of Oba Super2 maize seeds is now N750, as against its former price of N400.
“Government should please provide these farm inputs to farmers at subsidised rates,” he said.
Ayinla noted that the increment in the prices of farm inputs largely contributed to the rising cost of foodstuffs in the markets.
“I used to plant about 400 to 450 hectares of cassava in a year but now I can’t go more than 100 hectares because of the high cost of inputs and labour,” he said.
Ayinla also appealed to the government to provide farmers with adequate tractors at subsidised fees, saying: “We don’t have enough tractors.’’
He, however, solicited a reduction in the price of diesel from N22O a litre to N70 per litre, at least, so as to enable the farmers to fuel the few available tractors for use.
“Fuelling the few tractors we have is another problem, the Federal Government should bring down the price of diesel, ’’ he added.
On the menace of herdsmen in farmlands, Ayinla urged the government to initiate pragmatic efforts to stem the attack and killing of farmers by rampaging herdsmen.
“We are also experiencing the menace here and it has become a serious challenge to the farmers.
“Farmers no longer plant up to what is expected; you hardly see us planting crops as we used to do because of the activities of the herdsmen,” he said.
Besides, Ayinla urged the Oyo State Government to develop and maintain irrigation facilities in the Okegun and Oyo areas, among others, to provoke all-year round farming in the state.
He stressed the need to invest in irrigation facilities and irrigation farming, saying that inadequate rainfall had been a major limitation to crop growing in some areas.
“Farmers are planting maize now and preparing the land for cassava cultivation next month but inadequate rainfall is a major challenge facing our farmers.
“Definitely, we may not have enough maize yields because the rains are not in our favour; the rains are not in proper circulation across the state.
“We should have our first maize cultivation now but in the most vital areas of the state — from Oyo to Okeogun — there is no adequate rainfall for them to plant and we are almost in May.
“Also in Ibadan, the rains had been scanty and light; by now there should have been heavy rains that should circulate well across the different local governments,’’ he added.