Farmers from across the 36 states, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), have expressed their readiness to tap the opportunities in cassava and maize value chain as proposed by the presidential candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu.
The farmers, under the auspices of Asiwaju Farmers Forum, stated this in Abuja.
The group said their resolve to tap from the abundant opportunities in staples such as cassava and maize followed Tinubu’s assurance to invest massively in the entire agriculture value chain if elected president next year.
Leader of the group and National Coordinator, Nigerian Farmers Group and Cooperative Society (NFGCS), Mr. Retson Tedheke, said there must be a different approach to tackle the economic challenge for Nigeria to work.
Tedheke said localisation, industrialisation and sustainable economic strategy will be central to this.
He noted that the focus must be on productivity, processing, warehousing, rural stability and vocation manpower development that is focused on maize, cassava, yam, soy beans, palm trees, sesame, date palm, coconut, cattle, goats, sheep, fish, pigs among others.
He said: “Our population is mostly not employable except in the art of farming. When a population is as uneducated as we are, we look for the low hanging fruits to get us rolling and working in large numbers even with machines. Our people, particularly in rural Nigeria, need to be engaged in large numbers before they engage us violently with devastating consequences.
“Our imports must be on how to add value to what we can produce locally, it must be on extra jobs; it must be focused on nothing but managing the evolving rural Nigeria quagmire and turning what is currently becoming a curse to blessing.
“The problem of Nigeria is Nigerians. Our failure as a country is our fault as a people. The USD is not coming down soon. Our hunger is not going away. We cannot import everything and expect our people to be free from the challenging economic mess we face.
“There are no immediate solutions outside agbado (maize) and cassava. No place will be safe if we continue to play with a hungry and angry uneducated population. Lagos is working even if slowly and steadily. Nigeria will work.
“Holland makes about $5billion annually from exporting flowers and $100billion annually from agriculture and agribusiness. Those who ridicule agriculture as the only foundation for national development are naive and ignorant about real national economic growth.”