By Shuaib Sadiq
Some farmers in Kaduna State on Wednesday raised the fear of having low yield in the 2017 cropping season due to lack of inputs.
A cross-section of the farmers, who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in separate interviews, wondered why the state government could not provide the inputs.
They said most farmers were yet to receive fertilizer and variety of seeds as promised by the state government, three months after the wet season had set in.
A farmer, Malam Saminu Rigachikun, said: “we waited and waited but nothing up to now. Not even the fertilizers that we use our money to procure.
“How will the government say it’s committed to the ordinary farmer to produce more food for local consumption and export when it cannot provide the basic items and services to the farmer.’’
He alleged that the state government had directed farmers to forward details of their cooperative groups and all necessary bank details for agricultural loans, but months after nothing has happened.
Another farmer, Bello Bature, said most farmers had since April completed formalities for the loan, but the was yet to respond.
“All the necessary documentation have been made and submitted to the officials handling the loan scheme.
“It’s over three or four months now, but from all indications the state government will not do anything to assist the farmers and time is running out,’’ Bature said.
Mrs Jummai Bako was also unhappy with regards to their inability to access the loan and other vital inputs.
“We are still calling on the state government to fulfil the promises made to farmers and provide them with improved varieties of Rice seeds, Soy beans.
“We are also crying out for help to procure fertilizers at a subsidize rate.
“Fadama farmers also need to be assisted with water pumps, among other farming inputs which they require to facilitate production in the state.
“Already wet season rice and maize farmers are out there battling with the little they could get after waiting in pains for inputs from government.
“Kebbi state is an example in terms of rice and Jigawa state in wheat production, among many other states.
“Their state governments gave them all the needed support to increase production and look at where they are now.
“Kebbi produces rice in millions of tones,’’ Bako said.
However, NAN investigation revealed that most farmers who benefited from the agricultural loans in the 2016 farming season were not refunding.
NAN learnt that the state government was yet to recover the N4 billion released under the CBN anchor borrower’s programme.
Malam Dahiru Abdullahi, an information officer in the state Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry Development, told NAN that more than 11,000 farmers benefited from the scheme.
Abdullahi said that despite setting up of a task force for loans recovery, the state government had not recovered half of the loan given to farmers during the 2016 crop season.(NAN)