The Chairperson, Small Women Farmers of Nigeria (SWOFON), Kaduna
State Chapter, Mrs Ene Onogwu on Thursday called for urgent measures to tackle crop production glut and contamination resulting from poor standards.
Onogwu made the call at the opening of a two-day 2018 Annual Smallholder Farmers Produce Forum organised by Synergos-Nigeria in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Synergos is an agriculture-based NGO, supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF).
It provides various interventions to upscale agriculture value chains in 10 selected crops in Kaduna, Kogi and Benue states.
The chairperson said that farmers experienced challenges in managing modern crop production for local consumption; for industrial use and as well as access to export markets, which lead to glut.
She said as a result of being unable to manage the production of crops for food, industry and export markets in some cases was breach of trust with off-takers and out-growers.
”For instance, in Benue more farmers have invested resources in the production of Vitamin A Cassava and now suffer glut.
”This is because the food market demand is low and the industries currently do no use Vitamin A cassava,” she said.
Onogwu lamented that Nigeria being the world’s largest producer of cassava, yam, cowpeas and other stable foods it was still importing large amounts of food items.
”Nigeria is also a major producer of fish, yet it is a food deficit nation and imports a large amounts of grains, livestock products and fish.
“Despite conflicts and security challenges, Nigeria’s huge agricultural resource base offers great potential for growth,” she said.
The Director, Agriculture Extension, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mrs Karima Babangida, urged farmers to intensify efforts in the production of major crops, especially those that Nigeria has comparative advantage.
”I want you to invest massively in agriculture. Investing in agriculture means you are investing in your future.
”You should also produce to meet safety standards of the export market for the overall benefit of the country,” she said.
The Senior Technical Adviser to the Minister of Agriculture on Livestock Breed, Dr Nuraini Funsho commended the organisation for assisting farmers and sued for sustenance.
The Country Director, Mr Adewale Ajadi, encouraged the participants to institutionalise the knowledge they acquired over the years so as to make the agricultural sector attractive.
NAN reports that participants were drawn from three states namely; Benue, Kaduna and Kogi respectively.
NAN reports that officials of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Nigeria Commodity Exchange (NCE), Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) are participating.
Others include Small Women Farmers of Nigeria (SWOFON), Zero Hunger and cooperative groups.