BreakingNews 2/11/16: Foreigners have invaded Nigerian farms -Dr. Nebude

[ Masterweb Reports: Christiana T. Alabi reports ] - Foreigners from India, China and Lebanon among others have invaded farms especially in the northern part of Nigeria, the Principal of Premier Agribusiness School in Abuja, Dr. Bode Nebude has said. He said this in an interview at the end of the North Agriculture Stakeholders Summit/Expo which held in Kaduna on Wednesday.
According to him, the foreigners take advantage of the poor status of the farmers to buy off their agricultural products very cheaply; thereby pauperizing the farmers, as they continue to farm without making huge profits.
“Foreigners buy our ginger and benne seed among others for export. No Nigerian is exporting benne seed and we are one of the biggest producers of benne seed. The foreigners have enough money because they have their companies and they have done businesses as well as contracts in Nigeria, so they repatriate their money by using their money to buy all our agricultural produce cheaply and use them to siphon their money back home. So they are not helping us,”
Dr. Nebude who is also the President of Cluster Farmers Association of Nigeria stressed the need to bring cluster farmers together so that they can have a voice, make money for themselves and be sustainable.
He noted that most farming now are not sustainable. “The essence of the summit therefore was to take agriculture relevance to the grassroot,” he said.
He pointed out further: “Our focus is on small holder farmers because they do not know how to get assistance or access to loans. So the programme is aimed at educating them on how they can get assistance from government and from people. We are also building their confidence to know that they don’t have to beg to sell their products. We are educating them on how to process and get financial backing because if they have money, they will be able to produce and wait to sell at the right time but if they don’t, the foreigners will bring in money and buy half price from them.”
“This platform will help farmers who cannot speak English and who do not have the financial muscle to face the banks. So many farmers don’t know where to get things that could be of help to them. 90 percent of people obtaining agricultural loans are not farmers but they access these funds because they are closer to workers or management of the banks. It is unfortunate that bankers themselves invite non-farmers to pick up agricultural loans; leaving the farmers to fail by scaring them away with conditions they cannot meet,” he lamented.
He therefore advised the small holder farmers to pull their resources together to procure locally fabricated machines to aid their agricultural works.
“We are giving the farmers practical training. We have fabricated machines that can prepare feeds, give them up to four tons daily and the machine cost less than N100,000. We have cassava; so fabricated machines for cassava should be from Nigeria because it is endemic produce; so also ginger and palm oil among others,” he stressed.
He further stressed that there must be permanent ban on importation for agriculture to succeed in Nigeria.
“For years now, poultry farmers have been suffering because of importation but the short term ban on importation has increased their productivity,” he noted.
Christiana T. Alabi reports from Kaduna.
*Photo Caption - Women working in a Nigerian farm

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