By Onome Amuge
Oyo State farmers, under the auspices of the Association of Farm Settlers, have predicted potential scarcity in the supply of maize in the state come 2021.
The farmers who made the disclosure following an emergency meeting held in Iseyin, Oko-Ogun area of the South-west state, bemoaned the impacts of failed flood forecast and lack of government input required for cultivation in the state.
Alabi Kazeem, chairman of the association, in a communiqué issued at the end of the meeting, explained that members of the association lost millions in the 2020 planting season due to lack of government support, shortage of farm implements, manpower and the poor and unstable rainfall experienced in the closing months of 2020, which have made many farmers decide not to plant maize in the incoming year.
Explaining how the government further dented the hopes of the farmers through a failed flood forecast, Kazeem said when they heard about the government’s forecast through the meteorology department as well as the rigorous campaigns from the Oyo State Ministry of Environment and Water Resources, they thought there would be a lot of rainfall towards the end of October and November, prompting many of the farmers to seek for funds to plant maize.
The failed forecast, he continued, led to a staggering loss to the farmers. He added that some farmers lost millions of bank loans and borrowings from family and friends used to plant the maize.
“In as much as we are not blaming the federal and state governments for issuing flood alerts to safeguard lives and properties, including those of farmers, we are using this opportunity to appeal to them to support us. Our members are running from pillar to post to repay loans they took from banks and from individuals,” the communiqué read in part.
The farmers also called on the Oyo State government to fulfil its promise to extend the coverage of funding for farm settlements in the state to their association, expressing fear over the fate of poor Nigerians that depend largely on basic food items that are sourced from maize, stating that it is easy to predict that there will be scarcity of maize next year with what happened this year, unless government quickly evolves a way out to assist farmers to address the issue.
The association admitted that Seyi Makinde, the Oyo State governor has shown willingness to prioritise agriculture as a major pillar to promote the state’s economy and called on him to extend the funding from the loan for farm settlement to maize farmers in the state.
The association also enjoined the federal government to develop new measures to assist farmers in determining weather forecasts while providing basic support to genuine farmers.