Parents Should Spur Children Into Farming- Rice Farmers

Sandra Ukele

Parents have been advised to encorage their children into farming instead of seeking a white collar job which may no longer be available says the National Deputy President Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria, Mr Segun Atho.

Speaking at one day capacity training on rice production and input application, orgainsed by the association in Badagry, Lagos Atho said parents should change their attitudes towards agriculture and encourage their children to come into agriculture.

According to him, “We cannot continue to import rice and other foods; Nigerians can feed Nigerians without the help of other countries.

Atho lamented it is so unfortunate so many young people are still searching for white collar jobs which is no longer available.

Atho stressed, ” Agriculture must be seen as business, not as a hobby. Nigeria has about 95 million hectares of farming land, and 6 million of this land is suitable for growing rice, which makes agricultural sector spacious enough to accommodate large number of people who are ready to farm”.

He noted that their association is under the Federal Government anchor borrower program, which makes fund available to farmers in the country.

According to him, they are not giving cash to anybody, but, inputs are given to interested farmers to support their produces.
Atho further explained:” Federal Government has thrown its weight behind us in the area of finance and inputs. Our farmers are now taught on new modern  methods of rice farming for high yield and production.Hence, we can feed the nation with rice.”

He commended the Federal government for their various initiatives in supporting the development of agriculture in the country. According to him:

“Federal Government in partnership with Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had provided a platform that will make farmers achieve their dreams. President Buhari also has provided an enabling environment for every farmer to succeed in Nigeria.  They have equipped rice farmers in the country including some of us in Badagry with inputs such as fertilizers, rice seedlings, chemicals and training.  Our land and weather are rice friendly. We have negotiated for land, and presently, we have three tractors on ground, courtesy of President Buhari’s administration and CBN.

“Agricultural sector is the biggest sector that anybody can come in to without regret, because now the government has contributed immensely to see that this sector is successful, and the farmers are now ready for farming. We are not without some challenges, but we thank God, we are settling them one after the other.

“My plea goes out to all financial institutions, government parastatals and other sectors to be pro-active in making agriculture a full-time business. They should come out with another blue print that will help the farmers to succeed. They should also invest meaningfully in this sector, because if the farmers have financial back-up from financial institutions, they can conveniently shoulder the responsibility of feeding this nation without stress”, he appealed.

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