The Benue State chapter of Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON) has commended the State government for taking the initiative to ensure food sufficiency through subsidies on fertilizer, other farming inputs as well as encouragement of loan schemes for small-scale businesses through cooperative societies.
The Benue ALGON also commended the Benue State governor, Fr. Hyacinth Alia, on the directive that all Local Government executives as well as key ministries and parastatals of government come up with sustainable models and methods of ensuring that Benue State remains and practically retains its title as the ‘food basket of the nation’.
In a communique by the the State chapter of ALGON on behalf of the 23 local government caretaker chairmen in the state at the end of a two-day sensitisation workshop on the role of the local government at enhancing the capacity of the Federal Government’s food security emergency programme, facilitated by the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF) and SEGNIP Promotions in Abuja, the association maintained that the advocacy for Nigerians to eat what they grow is already long overdue, stressing that Benue State was already on the way to ensuring that there is a geometric increament in crop production despite the state of insecurity and hard economic realities.
The resolution signed by the state chapter of ALGON, which consists of 23 local government council executives, under the leadership of Hon. Phillips Achua (Konshisha local Government area chairman) pointed out that Benue State records the highest in terms of yam production in Nigeria and that over 200 trucks of yam were being loaded daily from the Zaki-Biam market alone, adding that the Federal Governement should consider more interventions and affordability of farming inputs such that will migrate farmers from peasantry to mechanised farming.
The ALGON, while commending the giant strides of the State governor for his genuine commitment to boast agriculture through the various incentives and security measures to protect farmers from incessant attacks, also called on the federal government to intervene in the areas of food storage facilities and also make high-yielding seed crops that will guarantee all-year farming availlable to Benue state farmers as well as buy-back policies that will feed the National Grain Reserve stations, given that Benue State has the right soil texture, climate and human resources to feed substantial part of Nigeria.
It also called on the Federal Government to support the initiatives of the State Government to fully utilise the agricultural potential of the state.
The ALGON commended the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator George Akume, and SEGNIP chief executive, Engineer Kayode Adegbayo, for putting together a programme that speaks to the core issues of food security, cutting down on food importation which will reduce poverty and improve the growth of Nigeria’s domestic products.
“So to this end we commend our state Governor Fr Hyacinth Iormem Alia for his purposeful leadership of the state, he is already doing great things in the areas of insecurity which is one sure way of ensuring agricultural upward trend as well as providing the enabling environment for local farming and on our part we will continue to support him and the Federal Government to achieve the desired goals.
“Benue is a rich agricultural region, this is not in dispute, because popularly grown crops include; oranges, mangoes, sweet potatoes, cassava, soya bean, guinea corn, flax, yams, sesame, rice, groundnuts, and palm tree. All the people need is encouragement which the state is doing but the state can’t do that alone. We need the Federal Government to step in the provision of modern farming equipment. We believe that if all of these opportunities are harnessed, Nigeria will be done and dusted with food importation,” they stated.