THE Federal Government has expressed its willingness to support Irish potato farmers toward increasing their productivity and modifying the value chain in 2018.
Chief Daniel Okafor, the National President, Potato Farmers Association of Nigeria (POFAN), dropped the hint in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Abuja.
He said that the government had already put the association into its programme and ready to distribute disease-resistant seeds to the farmers.
Okafor stressed the need for potato farmers to capture their data, including the size of their farm, location and the number of existing farmers.
According to him, the government is going to give every state what it deserves to increase potato production.
“It is not going to be business as usual because farmers will be working with the Central Bank of Nigeria and Bank of Agriculture.
“All the government is going to do is allocate a certain amount of money to Irish potato value chain products, give farm inputs, tractors and create a tractor-hiring centre in each local government.
“Government does not want to manage it but ready to give stakeholders to encourage the farmers to form cooperative within them so as to access loans and farm inputs.
“The company we are going to use will control the tractors as a centre.
“In that centre, we will have people in-charge of mechanisation, all types of inputs, irrigation pump, disease control and anything that is going to help us,’’ he said.
Okafor said that whenever farmers needed anything like fund and technical services, the centre would provide the support.
“The company that is buying our produce will come and buy at our price and after buying; the centre will collect the money and give us our balance.
“The centre will serve as a link between farmers and the company so that farmers will not be cheated,’’ Okafor said.
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