By Musa Sunusi Ahmad
Nasarawa State governor, Engineer Abdullahi Sule, has tasked facilitators and participants at a food summit, to evolve means of curbing wastages suffered by local farmers.
Engineer Sule laid the task Thursday, while delivering a keynote address at this year’s United Nations Food Summit exploratory dialogue, for the North Central region, which held in Lafia, on Thursday.
The food systems summit was organized in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning.
According to the governor, the amount of wastages suffered by local farmers both during cropping season, as well as post-harvest loses, may even be responsible for the hunger being witnessed in the country.
Engineer Sule decried a situation where local farmers fail to achieve appropriate yield per hectare, mostly due to wastages suffered in the process of planting to the point of harvest.
The governor noted that wastages can deprive a farmer from achieving appropriate yield, with local farmers cultivating one or two hectares of land for rice production, harvesting only about three instead of ten tonnes of rice, with appropriate farming inputs such as proper irrigation, herbicides, among others.
He pointed out that local farmers producing sugarcane suffer similar fate, with poor yield of between five to six tonnes per hectare, as against ten to eleven tonnes when appropriate measures are taken to protect the crops.
On post-harvest loses, the governor said farmers suffer huge wastages, sometimes ranging from between 40 to 50 percent.
Engineer Sule therefore appealed to facilitators and participants at the event, drawn across the North Central zone, to proffer ways of curbing these wastages, with a view to improving the economic wellbeing of local farmers.
“I believe these are some of the areas that if you concentrate, they can assist, guide and protect our farmers but more importantly, improve their economic viability,” he stated.
The governor commended the President Muhammadu Buhari administration, for its commitment to bring a positive revolution to the nation’s economy, through initiating policies and programmes encouraging economic diversification in the area of agriculture.
Engineer Sule equally commended the UN for conceiving the idea of organizing summit, aimed at providing food security, reducing hunger, as well as address prevalence of malnutrition, geared towards building a sustainable food system.
He stressed that Nasarawa State has since keyed into the FG’s policy on agriculture and nutrition, with a view to ensuring food sustainability, in line with SDGs goal No. 2, of achieving zero hunger by the year2030.
The governor listed the recent launching of the state cash transfer scheme, aimed at providing and improving the living the living conditions of the poor and vulnerable in the society, steps taken to encourage smallest holder farmers and youth, to see agriculture as viable business, as well as attracting well known commercial farmers into the state, as far reaching steps taken by his administration, in line with the policy thrust of the FG.
“It’s against this background that we must, as a matter of necessity begin to the address the end food system by initiating deliberate policies that will ensure that ordinary citizens in Nigeria, are not deprived the basic needs of food and adequate nutrition,” he said.
The governor appreciated the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, for the choice of Nasarawa State to host this all important historic occasion, considering the strategic location of Nasarawa State, within the North central zone, which is also predominantly agrarian in nature.
He also thanked representatives of development partners that graced the occasion.
Recall that only recently, the FG, in collaboration with the UN, finalized plans to organize series of dialogues across the country, towards ensuring resilient, inclusive and sustainable food systems in Nigeria by 2030.