The Bayelsa Chapter of the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) has expressed worry over the spate of “political farmers” in the state, urging members to depoliticise farming, to achieve the desired development.
The state Chairman, Mr Ezekiel Ogbianko, gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Yenagoa in Tuesday.
Ogbianko described politics as major setback to agricultural development, not only in Bayelsa but in Nigeria at large, noting that desisting from such act would advance farm productions.
He explained that many young and rural-based farmers had suffered and unable to make quality impact in agriculture due to the barrier caused by some cabals in the sector.
“I have been saying it and I will continue to say it because the cabals in politics have been our challenges and if we don’t talk, we will not overcome them.
“I am calling on members, who have been in one way or the other causing hindrance to the growth of agriculture, to desist from it; we do not want portfolio farmers; I must tell you because, the real farmers do not sit in the office.
“Farm inputs, including fertiliser and seeds, do not get to the real farmers because some cabals are working for what they will gain; we cannot get to the expected level if we continue to join farming and politics.
“RIFAN is worried because our aim is to demonstrate the real farming; we want to make Bayelsa one of the states that produces rice in Nigeria; we have gone round the eight local government areas of the state and we found out that rice can grow very well here.
“We have lands cutting across the local government areas; we have been working hard to commence the year (2017) planting season and clearing has begun in some of our lands, so, definitely, planting will follow immediately,” he stated.
On clearing of land, the Chairman said that work was in progress on the 5,000 hectares of land at Asaingbene Community, Yenagoa Local Government Area of the state.
“On the land, our target to complete clearing is three weeks, then planting will commence; I believe the contractor will meet the compilation target.
“Clearing is also on-going in other of our lands located in different communities, including Ondowari, Okpotuwari and Okiama ,” Ezekiel explained.
In his response, one of the contractors, Mr Stanley Yangboya, Director of Itu-Stainless Resources Ltd, said he would meet up with the completion period and commended RIFAN on funding. (NAN)