By Veronica Dariya
Some farmers in Bwari Area Council of the FCT, have advocated for more investors to initiate agricultural projects and programmes in the council’s communities, to boost food production.
The farmers spoke in separate interviews with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on Thursday in Bwari, Abuja.
Mr Baba Musa, a farmer and public servant, called for intervention programmes by both local and international agricultural investors to help improve and increase food production.
Musa said that initiatives for agro-development should be visible in Bwari communities, where food production, for both commercial and personal purposes, was notable.
“I would like to see green projects that will aim to improve the living conditions of farmers in our communities because this is the food basket of the FCT.
“We expect to see more of government sponsored projects, agricultural NGOs, or even United Nations programmes, like the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and many others.
“Some of our farmers’ cooperatives here may be enjoying small benefits like fertilisers and other farm inputs, but we need more than that, we need projects that will promote these cooperative societies and associations.
“Programmes that will teach agriculture and good nutrition, conservation and management of the soil, as well as the initiation of microcredit loans to farmers.
“Believe me, these will increase employment of young people and women, and also develop sustainable businesses, promote small and medium-sized enterprises in large commercial centres,” Musa said.
Another farmer, Mrs Lami Jethro said that, women farmers needed more encouragement to be more productive by providing modernised farming for them.
Jethro said that introducing mechanised agriculture, crop selection, and supporting productive partnerships between local and international development agencies would boost women’s participation in the sector.
She also urged governments at all levels, including organisations and partners, to be unrelenting in providing free or subsidised inputs for farmers to boost production, as well as provide food security.
Similarly, Mr Sunday Zakka, Chief of Staff to the council chairman, reiterated the councils’ efforts at boosting food production in the area, describing it as essential and top priority.
According to Zakka, the council administration, would not relent in doing what is best for the people, especially on socio-economic development.
He said that it was out of his personal interest in agriculture, that he tried to encourage young farmers in his hometown of Shere ward, by providing free herbicides for them to begin the farming season.
He added that he would continue to encourage others to participate and support the move with a view to making them more productive.
“Agriculture is one of the key sectors we have and we can’t be silent when it comes to developing it.
“It has helped us in many ways of our lives, especially as a means of livelihood to many, through it also, a lot of women and youths have become productive members of the society.
“So we need to give in our all and do all it takes for its growth in this area, and the FCT at large, in order to develop the sector while also bringing an end to hunger in the coming years,” he said.
He Bwari residents that the council, under the leadership of Mr John Gabaya, would continue to work out plans that would ensure development of every sector in the area, while also meeting the needs of the people.