By CHIBUZOR EMEJOR.
National Association of Nigerian Traders [NANTS has called for the continued implementation of the Growth Enhancement Support Scheme [GESS] of the immediate past administration to enable farmers across the country get subsidized farm inputs for increased productivity.
Bar. Ken Ukaoha, President of NANTS, made the call in Abuja when the group together with other coalition of civil society organisations embarked on Farmers Manifesto World Food Day Rally at the headquarters of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Ukaoha explained that the Scheme was a Federal Government’s initiative to actualize the implementation of the Agricultural Transformation Agenda [ATA], adding that it enabled Nigerian farmers to get subsidized fertilizers and improved seeds from genuine distributors on time.
He noted that the continuation of the GESS would have gone a long in addressing the suffering of Nigerian farmers, adding that the present administration would have improved on the Scheme if they were lapses noticed, to address the challenges of farmers in accessing farm inputs.
He therefore advised the Federal Government to avoid engaging in policy somersaults, particularly with the ones that have direct and positive impact on the citizenry.
The President of NANTS also urged the government to as a matter of urgency; resolve the farmers and herdsmen crisis in some states of the Federation to forestall looming food shortage in the country.
According to him, “Two zones, North East and North Central are known for food production in the country, and if the farmers/ herders crisis is not resolved in no distant time, there will be food shortages in the country.
Ukaoha who acknowledged the efforts of the Federal Government to ensure self-sufficiency in food production, said Nigeria now has stable agricultural policy.
Commenting on the rally, he said it was embarked upon to create awareness and educate the public on the disadvantages of vote-buying.
He counseled political office seekers to ensure that the forthcoming elections are devoid of rigging and other electoral malpractices.
“We need Nigerians to have enough food, the country needs good governance to guarantee food security and ensure that farmers get what they require for improved agricultural activities,” he said.
He assured that NANTS would visit all the political parties to discuss with them on how to ensure free and fair elections in 2019.
Also speaking, Mr. Kanayo Kanayo, a Nollywood actor, urged Nigerian youths to embrace agriculture for national development.
He advised the youth to desist from electoral malpractices and refused to be used by dubious politicians to perpetrate violence during elections.
NANTS also went to Utako and Wuse markets to sensitize and educate traders on the disadvantages of vote-buying and the need for all to embrace agriculture for national development.