By Emma ELEKWA
FARMERS in Anambra state have decried the non-availability of farming inputs and other equipment needed to produce bountiful harvest.
The farmers, under the ageies of the Small Scale Women Farmers Organisation of Nigeria (SWOFON), said they had undergone series of training without corresponding inputs to practicalise what they were thought.
Speaking with The Nation on her farm, the Coordinator, Nnewi North and South, Monica Igbokwe, who grows cassava, yam, and cocoyams, said she has resorted to self-help.
She expressed disappointment, saying farmers are fed up with the government’s empty promises. ‘We’ve been exposed to several training, yet no farm inputs to practice what we’ve learnt.”
She gave the example of one-week training organised in Awka, where organise promised to fund farmers, but nothing came afterwards.
“I can show you another text I got for another training. They went with us to Ozubulu to inspect our farms there, after that, nothing. The worst of it is that the places we cleared and were inspected are overgrown with weeds.
“See my poultry, almost empty. Had it been I was assisted by the government, no matter how small, you’ll see the difference. If I tell you I’m progressing in this business, I’ll be lying.”
Igbokwe complained about the frustration of accessing a loan from banks because of the long protocols. The government support goes to the wrong persons because of the intermediaries involved in the process, she said.
“If at all what they said is true, I’m suspecting they gave the money to industrialists and manufacturers. Those producing rice in large quantities. They don’t have the farmers in mind.”
Another farmer, Obiageli Onumr, said they are undeterred by the frustrations they experience from the authorities and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their farming.
“We’ve been attending seminars, yet we don’t see anything. But we’re not discouraged. Otherwise, you won’t see us here. We know the hope of the nation’s survival is in our hands. We’ll continue to struggle even in the midst of difficulties,” Onumr said.