Oyo farmers urged to seek collaboration with cooperatives societies

Stakeholders in the agriculture sector have harped on the need for farmers to join industry-based cooperative societies as part of efforts to seek collaborative solutions to the problems facing agriculture in Oyo State and the country by extension.

The farmers were told the cooperative societies help to collaboratively tackle farmers’ challenges head on and proffer solutions to them at minimal costs and efforts.

These were part of the resolutions of stakeholders at the second Fork to Farm Stakeholders Dialogue on Just Transition of Food, Farming and Related Policy organised by the Youth for the Environment, Nigeria (YFEN) in collaboration by the Dapo Adisa Agricultural Enterprise and the Sustainable Environment, Food and Agriculture Initiative (DAAESEFAI).

The Fork to Farm Dialogue chaired by Nourish Scotland, UK held recently at the House of Chiefs, Oyo State House of Assembly Complex and had in attendance farmers from about six local governments in the state.

seek collaboration with cooperatives societies
A cross section of farmers and industry stakeholders at the second Fork to Farm Stakeholders Dialogue on Just Transition of Food, Farming and Related Policy held in Ibadan, Oyo State recently. PHOTO: Ifedayo Ogunyemi

One of the industry stakeholders and Chief Executive Officer/Project Coordinator at the Spring Plantation & Processing Company Ltd, Mr Ola Emmanuel, said cooperative societies at the grassroots level help to separate real farmers from pretend farmers who optimise opportunities at the expense of true farmers.

Presenting cooperative societies-based opportunities to the farmers, Emmanuel said: “We have two programmes for those who are members of cooperative societies, we are facilitating 3,000 houses for farmers who are members of cooperative societies in Oyo State and this project cuts across all South-West states. We will build these housing units on the cooperative lands for the farmers who are members of such cooperative societies. And they will pay us back over the course of 20 years.

“We also have another programme for farmers with farmlands close to natural or artificial water sources. We started this Orange Fresh Sweet Potato (OFSP) programme this month. It is different from the names of cassava, soya bean and maize farmers that we have collated before now in Oyo State.”

Emmanuel who is also a Cooperatives Development Consultant for the International Labour Organisation (ILO) said OFSP seeks to work with corporate organisations that import raw import materials by sourcing these materials locally using backward integration. “We are to organise the farmers who will provide these products to the requirements that these organisations require,” he added.

Speaking in the same vein, the representative of the State Coordinator, from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mrs Balikis Abdulateef, said that collaboration with farmers and corporate organisations on OFSP will improve on the livelihood of our farmers, generate employment opportunities and reduce poverty in the population.

She also noted that the ministry is weaning of partnerships with individual farmers after realising that some individuals are not upright farmers instead, the ministry has concluded plans to collaborate with famers at the group level using cooperative societies, a development she believes will help eliminate fraud and corruption.

seek collaboration with cooperatives societies
A cross section of farmers and industry stakeholders at the second Fork to Farm Stakeholders Dialogue on Just Transition of Food, Farming and Related Policy held in Ibadan, Oyo State recently. PHOTO: Ifedayo Ogunyemi

Further speaking to Nigerian Tribune on the sideline of the dialogue, Mrs Abdulateef said: “The challenge of finance is one we have been tackling for a long time now. We have asked them to form cooperatives now that farming has grown from being a personal project into a business and anything that revolves around you think outside the box. If you are a member of a cooperative society, the meagre you contribute their will go a long way to help the farmers collectively. That way, assistance will be created within the cooperative.

“I believe we are moving in the right direction as far as food security is concerned. Our farmers and our youths are going back to the farms. Those who brought us here today are youths. A combination of all these efforts coupled with government assistance will continue to put food on our table. We have a series of assistances including subsidized inputs, construction of rural feeder roads, rural electrification and all these help farmers and our youths who will produce the food we will depend on for the future.”

Earlier, the Assistant Coordinator of the Oyo State Young Agropreneurs (OYAP), Daniel Nwangwu, urged the farmers present to see farming as a business and not as a meagre project that they do on the side, adding that there is the need to do agriculture with technology which will improve the returns on investments in the practice.

Meanwhile, a representative of the National Agricultural Quarantine Services (NAQS), Mrs Bosola Adedibu, who was also present at the event urged farmers who seek to exports their farm produce to take advantage of the services of the agency in order to test whether their products meet the quality and standard of the receiving countries.

“Our job is to ensure that agric products are toxicity-free whether through import or exports. Whenever you want to export, bring your products to us, we can examine them and certify them okay,” Adedibu said.

She noted that doing this will reduce the burden of getting the goods destroyed by foreigners during checks, adding that a lot of diseases that in the world today are as a result of the chemicals that farmers plant with.

The Chief Executive Officer of DAAESEFAI, Alhaji Lukman Oladapo, said there is the need for government to support farmers in the state so that “people won’t go hungry.”

This plea was also buttressed by the Founder and Director of Partnerships at YFEN, Opeyemi Elujulo, who noted that the dialogue offered an avenue for farmers, government and industry stakeholders to brainstorm on the challenges facing the sector.



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