Women farmers decry inadequate supply of farm inputs in Kwara


 Some women farmers, under the aegis of Smallholder Women Farmers' Association of Nigeria (SHOWFAN), has said that inadequate supply of farm inputs is hampering agricultural production in Kwara.
Participants at the state chapter of the farmers' group at a programme tagged ``Citizens Dialogue on Agriculture Budget, `` made this observation in Ilorin on Friday.
They said the state government had not been able to provide enough support to rural farmers, especially women farmers.
The programme was convened by the Centre for Community Empowerment and Poverty Eradication (CCEPE) in partnership with Actionaid Nigeria.
Mrs Iyabo Babatunde, a woman farmer from Asa Local Government Area of Kwara, noted that they lacked access to farm input that could enhance their agricultural activities.
She also urged both the Federal and state governments to address the challenges farmers were facing with herdsmen that always graze animals on their farms.
Babatunde recalled how a boy in a village in the local government recently received some machete cuts for challenging herdsmen who took cattle to graze on his father’s farm.
Another woman from Kaiama, Memunat Yinusa, told the forum that farming was becoming difficult in their area because the National Park had acquired farmers’ land.
She urged the government to direct the authorities of the park to give out some portions of the land to indigenes of the area for farming.

She also enjoined the government to provide them with the necessary agro-chemicals to ease their farming activities.
Yinusa also pleaded with the government to involve women farmers in policy making and provide them with credit facility.
Responding, Mr Suraju Alimi, Director, Planning, Research and Statistics in the state Ministry for Agriculture and Natural Resources, blamed the inability of the government to meet up with farmers' demands on paucity of fund.
He, however, said that government had devised another way of assisting farmers through the establishment of Agro-Mall in the state.
Alimi explained that the mall would serve as an intermediary and a link between farmers and agro-dealers by providing the needed farm input for them.
He added that the mall would also create a market for the farmers to sell their agricultural products.
The director said the state’s Commercial Agricultural Credit Scheme (CACS) at 6 per cent interest rate would be accessible to farmers once it gets governor's approval.
He added that the state government was working on a way to sustain the Growth Enhancement Support Scheme for the farmers in the state.
On extension service, Mr Ahmed Mohammed, Director, Agric and Engineering Services in the ministry, said the state had continued to provide extension service to farmers.
He explained that there were four zonal offices for extension service in the state with extension agents across the communities in the 16 local government areas.
He noted that the ratio of extension agents to farmers might be inadequate as the state could only boost of 120 extension agents.
He added that government had engaged nearly 700 service providers, made up of graduates of agriculture across the state to provide extension service to farmers.
The director said he would provide the contacts of the directors of the zonal offices to any farmer that wished to engage an extension agent.
In his address, Mr Abdulrahman Ayuba, a Senior Programme Officer for CCEPE, commended the state government for raising budgetary provision for agriculture in the 2016 Appropriation Act.
He, however, sought for more improvement in the state`s subsequent budget proposals. (

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