Maize farmers urge FG to compensate farms affected by armyworm
Maize farmers in the country have appealed to the Federal Government to consider compensating farmers whose farms had been ravaged by the current outbreak of armyworm disease.
Dr Edwin Uche, President, Maize Growers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria, made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Abuja.
Armyworms are caterpillar pests of grass pastures and cereal crops; they are the only caterpillars that growers are likely to encounter in cereal crops.
The pest mostly feed on leaves, but under certain circumstances would feed on the seed stem, resulting in head loss.
Uche said such compensation was necessary to encourage farmers and to boost maize production, especially as most of them had lost billions of naira to the decease.
“If a farmer borrowed money from a bank and goes through challenges to cultivate and at the end of the day he loses his produce to environmental or social hazard.
“Such a farmer should be compensated adequately to motivate and encourage him to continue in the practice.
“This is what we are advocating, considering the outbreak of this disease and other challenges that farmers are being faced with,’’ he said.
Uche explained that maize farmers were also faced with inherent challenges such as poor agronomic practices, lack of access to right seeds and fertiliser among others.
He said the association was currently carrying out extensive capacity building workshop for farmers on global best practices of maize cultivation.
He added that the association was planning a national maize conference expected to come up in August 2017, where stakeholders would proffer ways of improving maize cultivation.
This, he said, was especially so considering the importance of maize to brewery industry, confectionary and other industrial product.
“We want to look at maize as a key component to drive poverty reduction, job creation and improve agriculture in the country.
He, however, advised maize farmers to work in collaboration with officials of the Agricultural Development Programme (ADPs) in their various states to get new development and information on how to boost their production.