A group of Nigerian farmers under SWOFON have called on government to move a step further in the drive to reposition agriculture in the country by providing them with equipment needed for work in order to increase output.
The Small Scale Women Farmers Organisation of Nigeria (SWOFON) said they had undergone series of training without corresponding inputs to put into work what they have been taught.
In an interview, the Coordinator, Nnewi North and South, Monica Igbokwe, who grows cassava, yam, cocoyam among others, said she has resorted to self-help.
In her words: “We’re disappointed with what we’re going through in the hands of government. We’re totally fed up with their promises. We’ve been exposed to several training, yet no farm inputs to practice what we’ve learnt.
“We were invited to Awka for series of training, for one week. We even slept there and they promised they would give us something after the training. But up till today, nothing.
“I can show you another text I got for another training. They went with us to Ozubulu to inspect our farms there, after that, nothing. The worst of it is that the places we cleared and were inspected are overgrown with weeds.
“See my poultry, almost empty. Had it been I was assisted by the government, no matter how small, you’ll see the difference. If I tell you I’m progressing in this business, I’ll be lying.
“There’s scarcity of money. You can’t even get loan from anywhere again. If you want to apply for loan, the protocols you’ll go through alone is frustrating. So it’s better you stay at home,” she said.
Igbokwe alleged that the assistance from government is being given to the wrong persons, blaming it on the intermediaries.
She added, “If at all what they said is true, I’m suspecting they gave the money to industrialists and manufacturers. Those producing rice in large quantities. They don’t have the farmers in mind.
Another farmer, Obiageli Onuma, however, said they will not be discouyraged by the frustrations they experience from the authorities and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their farming.
“We’ve been attending seminars, yet we don’t see anything. But we’re not discouraged. Otherwise, you won’t see us here. We know the hope of the nation’s survival is in our hands. We’ll continue to struggle even in the midst of difficulties,” she said.
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