Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Palliative: Farmers beg govt. to step up investment in agriculture, youth empowerment

The farmers said the measure would enhance wealth creation and food security.

• August 21, 2023

As the economic situation bites harder on Nigerians, some farmers in Gombe have urged the state government to leverage the additional funds from the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) to invest in agriculture.

They said such investment was imperative to encourage productivity and address challenges militating against sustainable growth in agriculture.

The farmers, who spoke while reacting to a survey on the increased allocation to states sequel to subsidy removal, said the measure would enhance wealth creation and food security.

According to them, since over 80 per cent of the state’s citizens engage in agriculture, such investment would improve the social and economic well-being of the people.

A cotton grower, Umar Na-Bingi, said farming was the only sector the government could leverage at all levels to change the economic fortunes of the state and country.

Mr Na-Bingi said most farmers could not cultivate their farmlands due to a hike in prices of fertilisers and inputs occasioned by fuel subsidy removal and inflationary trend.

“It is good to increase investment in agriculture and enhance farmer support services following the increase in FAAC allocation to the state.

“There is no empowerment that will help address poverty in rural areas like supporting the agriculture sector where the majority of our people could be reached,” the farmer said.

Corroborating Mr Na-Bingi, Amos Bulus, another farmer, said such investment would positively impact the well-being of the farmers and enhance Nigeria’s economic diversification drive.

“Such investment in agriculture will have a positive impact on the economy of the state,” said Mr Bulus.

Also, Musa Malala commended the Gombe government over the distribution of fertilisers to the farmers at a subsidised rate of N15,000 per bag.

Checks in major markets across Bauchi, Gombe and Jigawa showed that a bag of NPK fertiliser was sold between N25,000 and N28,000, while the Urea brand sold between N21,500 and N23,500, respectively.

Similarly, Garba Jinjiri, chairman of the Bauchi State Network of Civil Society Organisation, advocated the introduction of a comprehensive youth empowerment programme sequel to increase in the FAAC allocation to states.

According to him, empowerment will alleviate the sufferings of the youth, create jobs and enable them to become self-reliant.

He urged the state government to initiate a palliative towards addressing hikes in the prices of inputs to encourage productivity and enhance food security.

Meanwhile, Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi said the government spent N480 million on procuring the 30 vehicles to cushion the effect of the subsidy removal.

In Jigawa, the state government expressed readiness to utilise the increase in its FAAC allocation to provide palliatives and execute viable projects to fast-track infrastructure development in the state.

Babangida Umar, the Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, said the state received N7 billion as the first FAAC allocation tranche following the fuel subsidy removal.

“We have also received the sum of N21 billion as a special grant for infrastructure approved to each of the 36 states of the federation and Abuja,” he said.

Also, Sagir Musa, the Jigawa Commissioner for Information, Youths, Sports and Culture, said the government had approved over N100 million to empower 1,000 women traders and 1,500 youth in the state.

(NAN)

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