By Olayinka Olawale
The All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), has called for the adoption of policies that would support all-year-round farming to mitigate hunger and malnutrition in the country.
AFAN’s National President, Mr Kabri Ibrahim, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Tuesday.
Ibrahim said that all-year-round farming would enable the country feed its growing population.
He said that the country would overcome issues relating to food scarcity, insufficiency and insecurity by embracing all-year-round farming.
The president who observed that the present seasonal farming was old fashioned stressed the need for sustained food production to feed the nation.
Ibrahim said that the country needed to move away from the traditional rain-fed practice to all-year-farming, adding that it would aid food security.
“Nigeria can mitigate issues related to food scarcity by practising agriculture all year round and not the dependence on rainfall that dominates the practice now.
“When you do all-year-round agriculture, you don’t have any gaps and this is what happens in some of the countries that have food security.
“If you look at some countries in Europe and the United States, as well as Brazil, they do agriculture all year round except those times when the climate will not allow.
“What they do is to produce food that will thrive in the climatic conditions prevailing at that time.
“In the middle of winter for instance, in France, you might not be able to grow corn but you can grow other things that thrive, you simply concentrate on them.
“In our environment, it is even more doable because we do not have a situation that prevents us from practising agriculture all year round,” he said.
Ibrahim said that farmers can concentrate on crops that thrives more during the harmattan and vis-a-vis the rainy season.
He called for the adoption of long-term strategies, new method and policies among the stakeholders in the private and public sector to achieve the goal.
Ibrahim listed some of the challenges mitigating all-year-round farming to include policy inconsistency, funding, poor irrigation system and lack of political will.
He also said that poor water management system posed a great threat to farming all year round.
He urged the Federal Government to improve irrigation systems, encourage mechanised farming as well as create access roads in order to increase food production and security in the country.
“We do farming when the rains come and the only thing that prevents you is the torrential rain.
“During the cold or the harmattan we experience in the North, it will still not prevent anybody from doing the dry season farming.
“The tomatoes that we use now are planted during the harmattan. There are crops that even thrive during harmattan or during the cold season, like wheat.
“Farmers can produce a lot of wheat during the cold,” he said. (NAN)