Garba Afeez Olumide, the founder and team leader for Voice of the Farmers (VOTF), has urged Lagos State government to make more provisions for farmers in Lagos State.
Olumide made the call in an interview, celebrating farmers for the great jobs they are doing.
According to him, “farmers are less celebrated, among all the professions. Since farmers provide food for the people, VOTF has decided to celebrate them, for the great job they are doing.
“One of the things we do is celebrate, educate, organise training, and also link the farmers to the right market We have heard testimony from the farmers we have linked to the right market.”
He said farmers in the state are facing various challenges that require the intervention of the government, which will encourage them to provide food for the growing population of the state.
“Political farmers are becoming a threat to the real farmers; these are people who don’t have a piece of land that they cultivate or a place to practise live stock farming, but they are the ones that get most of the interventions from the government. Those in charge of it will not allow the real farmers to benefit.”
Olumide noted that farmers need the government to link them to markets where they can sell their products.
“The farmers are also finding it difficult to get market for their product as there is no regulatory body to manage the prices, it is becoming difficult to get buyers that would buy at a price that will profit the farmers.”
He said he and his team have been contributing their quota to address these challenges, “but this is not enough, the farmers still need connections to the right market. Apart from this, bad roads and the high cost of feed for poultry and aquaculture farmers are also challenges for the farmers.”
Olumide pointed out that subsidy removal has also affected the farmers extensively, in terms of transporting their goods to the market and also maintaining their farms for those that need to pump water and generate electricity for their live stock.
“I think the Lagos State government has to emulate Borno State, which has made provisions for the farmers to transport their goods, which is to cushion the effects of the subsidy removal.”
He siad Climate change has affected farmers so much that the farming season has been distorted.
“We all have always contributed to the effect of climate change, there’s a high rate of deforestation, and trees are not planted to replace them. We have always advised our farmers against bush burning, there is an urgent need to educate the farmers on the impacts of their activities on climate change.”
Olumide said farmers have always lagged behind in publicity because some of them don’t have access to technology, which is why we took up the responsibility to be their voice.
“We are a new brand with just two years of existence, and we have carried out several programmes and met with stakeholders in agriculture. We have organised seminars where we educate farmers on Security and insurance schemes for poultry farmers and agriculture generally. I think security affects poultry farmers more because of the avian influenza and some aquaculture as well, and this has made us work with various agricultural bodies and unions like Appeal, LASCAFAN, and PAN.”
VOTF, a media brand that serves as a voice for the farmers, has introduced catch them young to encourage the youth to be part of agriculture.
“We believe in catching them young, which is why we introduced agri-youths, to encourage the youths into agriculture. By bringing experts that have made it in the industry to educate the youth on how they started and how they overcome their challenges.
“This will encourage more youth to be part of agriculture. We are also working on reviving the farmers club, and organising farm tours for secondary school students to boost the interest of the younger generation in farming.
“Anytime we eat, we should thank God and thank the farmers that provided the food, because without them, there’s no food, and when there’s no food, there’s no life,” he added.