Farmers Lambast Ministry Over N13bn Pest Control Fund
Nigerian Farmers on Thursday lambasted the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development for planning to spend N13bn on the control of pests in 12 northern states.
Last week, the FMARD announced that the Federal Government had approved N13bn for the ministry to fight locusts, birds and other pests.
But the All Farmers Association of Nigeria said the N13bn was not provided for in the 2020 budget and therefore unappropriated by the National Assembly.
The President of AFAN, Kabir Ibrahim, said for such information to be churned out to the public was tantamount to gross indiscipline and gross misconduct on the part of public officers responsible for it.
He said in statement issued in Abuja that the public domain was awash with consternation because of the information.
Ibrahim said, “The farmers are at a loss when this kind of information comes out especially when they are struggling to access their farms due to insecurity.
“For the farmers who are not sure of even being able to produce anything to wake up to the realisation that the government was planning to spend this kind of money on a perceived problem even before it rears its head is nebulous.”
He added, “The question we are asking is how the government came to the decision to expend this colossal sum to protect farm produce whose quantum is indeterminate because its cultivation has not even commenced and there is no veritable data to rely on in forecasting what it will actually amount to.”
Ibrahim called on the National Assembly to summon a stakeholder hearing to appraise the matter.
He said, “At the end of the hearing, the government should be advised to reappraise the performance of the drivers of agriculture in Nigeria.
“While we applaud the efforts and concern of the President on the promotion of agriculture for food security and national development, it will be unpatriotic to keep quiet in the face of this obtuse and reductive appraisal of an integral component of the national food system.”
The association called on government to quickly evolve a directorate to take charge of the attainment of food security in Nigeria to avert food shortage that could lead to the collapse of the whole governance system of the country.