An argument has ensued between the Presidency and the All Farmers’ Association of Nigeria (AFAN) over the Federal Government’s claim on the registration of farmers.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Agriculture, Andrew Kwasari, said over six million farmers had been registered by the Federal Government for the purpose of giving them subsidies.
This, however, didn’t go down well with the National President of AFAN, Kabir Ibrahim, who said the association was not aware of the programme. Speaking with Punch, he said what should be of importance to the government was how to address rising food prices caused by insecurity.
While urging the government not to claim that it had spent billions of naira on data capturing of farmers, Ibrahim pointed out that cotton growers said they were not involved in the exercise.
At the fourth meeting of the National Council on Agriculture and Rural Development on June 17, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sabo Nanono, said the government had created an online portal to register 10 million farmers. He said the exercise would capture their biographies, geographical information of their farmlands, crops, and volumes of what they could produce.
The database, he said will be a platform for Federal Government interventions and put an end to ghost schemes and other unscrupulous practices in the agricultural industry. While noting that the programme initially planned to capture 2.4 million farmers across the country, he said the results from it encouraged the government to expand the target to 10 million.
Denying the knowledge of the exercise, Ibrahim said: “I am not aware of any of such and we have not been registered. We are not part of what they are doing.
“I think what should be of importance to the government now is how to address the rising food prices occasioned by the inability of farmers to go to their farms due to insecurity.
“They should not come and tell us that they are spending billions to capture farmers’ data or to registers farmers in Nigeria. We are not aware or part of it.”
Corroborating the AFAN chairman, the Lagos State Chairman of the association, Chief Femi Oke, said he was not aware of the programme.
“I am not aware of any registration or data capturing exercise yet,” he said.
This was the same situation with the AFAN chairman, Bauchi State, Mahmoud Yakubu.
“In my capacity as Chairman of Bauchi state farmers’ association, I am not aware of that. Just as you heard it was how I also heard it. What I am saying is that the Federal Government is supposed to carry us along.
“Before we are registered, the organ responsible will give us the terms of reference and from there, we will know what to expect but I can’t just say this is what we will expect without knowing what they want to do.”
His Osun State counterpart, Alhaji Sulaimon Araokanmi, said the only registration done by farmers in the state was for those that recorded losses during the #EndSARS protest and flooding of 2020.
“We have 52 commodities in the state and every commodity has a leader. I am the overall leader of all the farmers in the state. We have representatives for yam farmers, poultry farmers, fish farmers and others. So, I may not know if members of sub-groups under AFAN have been asked to register.
“The registration that I am aware of in the state is for those affected by flood last year and it was done throughout the country. Those that suffered losses during #EndSARS protest were also told to register.”
While most were not aware of the development, some said they were not carried along. AFAN Chairman in Sokoto State, Saliu Ibrahim, said there were various forms of registration, which rice farmers in the state were involved.