Farmers in Gombe State have called on the Federal and the State Governments to invest more in the agricultural sector to help mitigate the impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the country.
A cross-section of the farmers made the appeal in separate interviews on Tuesday in Gombe.
Alhaji Yaya Siddau, a tomato farmer at Wuro-Yayangari village in Akko Local Government Area, said that the lockdown had made it difficult for them to sell their produce and generate income to prepare for wet season farming.
“You know tomatoes are perishable produce and we supply our produce beyond the state. The lockdown as a result of the coronavirus has made it difficult to get our produce away from farms.
“Most of us that cultivated tomatoes during this dry season have not been able to effectively sell our produce to get back our investment to get prepared for wet season farming.
“We need assistance from government at all levels so we can cope if not we would be forced to stay idle. The assistance could be in form of seeds and input, and not necessarily cash,’’ he said.
Alhaji Abbas Na-Bingi, a rice farmer, said the impact of coronavirus would be severe if there is no increased investment in the agricultural sector, adding “many farmers do not have the means to cultivate crops now’’.
While commending government efforts in investing in agricultural sector in the previous year, Na-Bingi said “that’s why we still have food all over inspite weeks of lockdown’’.
“The efforts of the Federal Government through Anchor Borrowers Programme and other empowerment programmes for farmers and the border closure have been the reason we are not having food crisis now.
“We call on the federal government to increase funding to the sector to ensure that we raise more farmers to cultivate their farms so that we don’t have a food crisis next year,’’ he advised.