Farmers lament over closure of hotels

Babalola Seyi

Farmers in the poultry and fishery industries are lamenting the continued closure of hotels , drinking joints and other entertainment spots where their products are sold.

They say the situation is threatening their business .

They also called on the Federal Government to revive the Growth Enhancement Support Scheme, an agricultural scheme that provided inputs for farmers up to the grassroots level at 50 per cent subsidised rate.

The scheme was introduced by the former President Goodluck Jonathan.

They told reporters that unless something urgent was done about the food situation, hunger might be on the horizon.

The farmers said they had hoped that hotels and other hospitality businesses would be reopened after about two weeks of easing the lockdown in the Federal Capital Territory, Lagos and Ogun states , leading to gradual opening of certain industries .

The President , Integrated Farmers Association of Nigeria, Mr Aduragbemi Akinlami , noted that current Anchor Borrowers Programme was not as effective as the Growth Enhancement Support Scheme, which took holistic view at agriculture up to the grassroots level.

He said the GES scheme was introduced across the 36 states of the country, and it took care of all categories of farmers in sectors as crop and animal husbandry , fishery , piggery and poultry.

Akinlami said that was the only time farmers operating in all these sectors received some assistance from the government as it bore 50 per cent of all the inputs such as fertilizers , poultry feeds and fingerlings given to farmers.

He said , “ Currently , many farmers are lamenting because their farm output is getting bad as the hotels , drinking joints and other hospitality businesses are not operating since the outbreak of coronavirus.

“ Some of them have incurred losses. We are only hoping that with the gradual easing of the lockdown , which had allowed a section of the industries to open for business, it will soon get to the ( turn of) hotels and others. We sell most of our products to the hotels and the drinking joints.

“ This is the time that government should pay a critical attention to the agricultural sector, if indeed the country is serious in diversifying from oil to agriculture . ”

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