By Félicia Imohimi
Senator Abdullahi Adamu, chairman of the board of directors of NAFN, said this during the National Agricultural Show and World Food Day underway on Thursday in Tundun Wada, Nasarawa state.
The theme of the Agricultural Show 2021 is “Celebrating the resilience and roles of smallholder farmers in sustaining food systems in Nigeria”.
Adamu further described them as the heroes of agricultural development in the country and the survival of the nation and citizens despite all odds.
However, he stressed that these segments of society were excluded from government policies and programs in the area of funding and incentives.
Adamu noted, “These farmers are celebrated not out of sentiment but out of a sincere belief that they deserve national recognition for their ability to survive rain or shine and be able to feed us.”
Adamu pointed out that their resilience and focus on agriculture saved the nation from the embarrassment of losing its independence from total dependence on other nations to feed its citizens.
He congratulated the farmers for their unwavering contribution to the national effort towards food self-sufficiency.
According to him, these men and women have continued to do magic with small farms in rain or shine, summer policies and inconsistencies in government agricultural programs since the nation’s independence.
“Successive federal and state administrations have disappointed them, but they have never disappointed the nation and the citizens.
“They feed us and provide the raw materials for our agro-industries. They do not receive appropriate compensation for their steering contributions to our national development, yet have not failed.
“These are the proverbial monkeys who work to get baboons to eat, whether they are sick or not, they remain steadfast in their individual and collective determination to feed the nation.
“Their resilience is our national pride. Without them, this nation will not survive, we will starve. I salute them, ”he said.
Adamu said federal and state governments must provide a conducive environment for our farmers along with the tools to lead the way against looming food security challenges.
According to him, we must improve their lots by deeds and not by words and make them the first beneficiaries of their sweat and the work of the land.
Speaking on the farm show, he identified the 2021 celebration as the 14th in the series.
According to him, the 2020 event did not take place against the backdrop of two disturbing developments such as the COVID-19 pandemic and heightened security challenges.
“The increased insecurity in the country, especially in rural areas where small farmers reside, has taken a heavy toll on small farmers and their farming activities.
“The three geopolitical zones of the north are taken hostage by kidnappers and bandits who dare their precious lives.
“Farmers have abandoned their farms because it is no longer safe for them, which is tragic for the country in terms of food security now or in the future,” he said.
Dr Samuel Negedu, national coordinator of the foundation, noted that the theme was chosen in recognition of the efforts of smallholder farmers to meet more than 90 percent of the basic food needs of Nigerians.
He said this had been faced with formidable economic and security challenges.
“Small farmers represent 80 percent of the farmers who put food on our tables despite the security and economic challenges,” he said.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that the National Agricultural Show which started in 2007 offers agricultural stakeholders the opportunity to showcase their products and technological innovation of their value chain, among others. .
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