Nigerian Farmers Urge FG to Divert Fuel Subsidy Funds to Agriculture
By Adedapo Adesanya
Several Nigerian farmers’ groups have come together to call on the new administration of President Bola Tinubu to use the billions of Naira in savings from fuel subsidy removal to develop the nation’s agriculture sector.
They proposed the disbursement of these funds through the National Agriculture Development Fund (NADF).
The coalition’s position was contained in a statement signed by the President of the Young Farmers Network (YFN), Mr Abubakar Bamai, and a host of others on Thursday.
The group stated that investing the subsidy funds in the agriculture sector would enhance productivity and end food insecurity in the country.
“Recognising the critical role that agriculture plays in our nation’s economy, it is imperative that we invest in it for long-term sustainability.
“The diversion of the fuel subsidy payments to the National Agricultural Development Fund will enhance agricultural productivity, promote technological advancement and improve the livelihoods of farmers across the country,” Mr Bamai said.
The YFN president further suggested the areas to which the funds could be channelled to include research and development, farmers’ support programmes, infrastructural development, agricultural extension services and agribusiness development.
According to him, there should be support for agribusiness through access to credit facilities, training and market linkages, fostering entrepreneurship and creating employment opportunities in the agricultural value chain.
Mr Bamai, however, said that the call was not in any way aimed at undermining the need to address the concerns and welfare of Nigerians in the wake of the fuel price increase.
The statement also quoted the President of the Women Farmers’ Association of Nigeria (WFAN), Mrs Amina Kabir, as saying that NADF would address some lapses encountered in the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Anchor Borrowers Scheme.
She said this was achievable, particularly as the agency would be dealing directly with the farmers and not through the Private Finance Initiative (PFI).
“With National Agricultural Development Fund, I don’t think we will have a problem with PFI because we have another channel, the one that knows the importance of agriculture and is there for agriculture, to give us lasting solutions,” Mrs Kabir said.
On his part, the President of the Dates Farmers’ Association of Nigeria (DFAN), Mr Usaini Dikko, said that NADF, like Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), would go a long way in transforming the agriculture sector.