Chairman of Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) in Anambra State, Vincent Ezekwueme has attributed low food production in the country to high cost of farm implements and inputs.
Speaking in a chat with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Enugu today, October 25, the CLO boss stressed that such high cost has made it difficult for the small-holder farmers to thrive.
He advised the Federal, state and local governments to take immediate and urgent measures to rescue impending food scarcity in country as small-holder farmers are finding it hard to continue farming.
This he said was due to unprecedented escalation of prices of farm implements and agricultural products, especially herbicides, pest control and insecticides as well as other tools needed by farmers for easy cultivation.
“It is unbelievable but existential reality that herbicides sold for N1,300 in January has skyrocketed up to N3,500 now, while insecticides and pest control also increased by more than 200 per cent.
“During our discreet investigation due to incessant lamentations by farmers and outrageous cost of food stuff; importers of these farm implements and inputs ascribed the astrological increase in prices to devaluation of naira and scarcity of foreign currency.
“Government should marshal out actions to forestall impending food scarcity in the country as it will be very difficult if not impossible for the common man to afford three squares meal a day.
“There is no doubt that the high cost of food production will precipitate increase in prices. Remember, no farmer no food, no nation.
“So no efforts should be spared to protect and encourage them.
“It is pertinent and a step in the right direction for governments to remove all the bureaucratic bottle neck farmers experience while accessing governments’ loan.”
Ezekwueme called on the governments at all levels to ensure that grants, farm inputs, fertilisers, seeds, agricultural products and loans meant for farmers get to real and genuine farmers, “not political farmers”.
The activist called on government to introduce Farmers National Award Day in other to encourage farmers and appreciate their contributions towards nation building.
“The award will also add value and respect to them and also give them a sense of belonging for without food, there will be hunger, anger and frustration.
“We must strive to help farmers always to enhance their inevitable works, avoid and avert anything that hinders them through avoidance of hoarding and escalating prices of food stuff, farm implements and agricultural products”