The Federal Government has expressed its willingness to support Irish potato farmers toward increasing their productivity and modifying the value chain in 2018.
The National President, Potato Farmers Association of Nigeria (POFAN), Chief Daniel Okafor who disclosed this in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital explained that the government had already put the association into its agricultural programmes.
He added that the government was ready to distribute disease-resistant seeds to Irish potatoes farmers in a bid to increase potato production.
Okafor stressed the need for potato farmers to capture their data, including the size of their farm, location and the number of existing farmers.
“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 certain amount of money to Irish potato value chain products, give farm inputs, tractors and create 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.” he said.
According to him, a company would be used to control the tractors as a centre which would have people in-charge of mechanization, irrigation pump and disease control.
Okafor said that whenever farmers needed anything like fund and technical services, the centre would also 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” he said
He explained that the centre would serve as a link between farmers and the company, so that farmers would not be cheated.