A group, known as Farming for Sustainable Growth (FSG), has called on farmers in Ekiti to embrace dry season farming in order to boost food production and their personal income.
The group’s Coordinator, Mr Olabode Faleye, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ado-Ekiti on Friday.
Faleye said that dry season farming had become necessary in view of the current low rainfall being experienced across the state and some parts of the country.
“Dry season farming will promote all year round farming and increase productivity, farmers’ harvest and income.
“This will in turn help to reduce poverty, food insufficiency and unemployment, especially as we battle with COVID-19 pandemic,” Faleye said.
He advocated the replication of Federal Government’s agricultural initiatives, such as the Anchor Borrowers Programme, the Presidential Fertiliser Initiative and Food Security Council, at the state and local government levels.
He said that the initiatives would avail farmers unhindered access to credit facilities and highly subsidised farm inputs for increase in food production.
Faleye said that dry season farming, coupled with support from government through credit facilities and other incentives, would help to keep farmers busy throughout the year.
He therefore urged government at all levels to muster the political will to promote dry season farming through their programmes and policies.
He described dry season farming as capital intensive, saying, “dry season farmers require adequate fund to achieve the desired food production target,”.
He further said that inadequate rainfall as presently being experienced also posed serious challenge to farmers in meeting up with their food production target.
Faleye said that the success of dry season farming should be the collective responsibility of all the stakeholders, including the three tiers of government.
He, therefore, called for increased budgetary allocation to support dry season farming.
He described the dwindling oil fortune globally, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, as a wake up call on the authorities to pay priority attention to the agricultural sector.
Faleye said: “To damn the consequences posed by inadequate rainfall and other sundry factors, government should increase its budgetary provision for agriculture, especially dry season farming, for the 2021 planting season.
“There are lots of expectations on all tiers of government to turn the nation’s socio-economic fortune around by utilising our God-given land and natural resources for our own benefit.
“Dry season farming has the potential to increase the production of crops, such as rice, beans, wheat, sorghum and vegetables.
“This will go a long way to complement the wet season harvest and output to meet the desired food target.
“Dry season farming, if well planned and implemented, would promote all year round farming as well as solve the nation’s poverty and food challenges.”
The renowned farmer further called for the provision of modern storage facilities and markets to assist farmers actualise their production targets and income from sales.
He said the FSG was working with some women groups and youth associations in Ekiti toward making agriculture more attractive as a vocation and business venture.