By Mike Adeyemi
The Kwara State chapter of the National Association of Groundnut Farmers have lamented what they described as total neglect of the union by the Kwara State government.
The state Chairman, Hon. Paul Tsowa stated this during a chat with our reporter in his Ilorin office, at the weekend.
According to him,” Kwara State with a comparative advantage in groundnut production has been lagging behind as a result of government neglect.
“Production of groundnut in Kwara state has evolved in recent time as we are working toward mass production across the state. We were able to design a programme in which we involved the female folks and youths.
“We are into the production and processing and at the same time marketing. We have a synergy with Dantata in Kano, to buy and offload groundnuts from us. He gave loans to our members which brought about job creation in the state,” Tsowa disclosed.
He added that, despite series of letters written to the Kwara State Governor, Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, towards alleviating plight of groundnut farmers in the state, their requests had always fallen on deaf ears.
“Presently, the Kwara State government has not shown interest in groundnut production. There was a memo we wrote to the governor demanding how he can assist our farmers.
“He acknowledged the letter and promised to get back to us. But up till now we haven’t heard anything. We told him in the memo that if each senatorial zone in Kwara can at least have a groundnut processing plant, it would boost the state economy and create jobs. Unfortunately, up till now we are still waiting,” he lamented.
Tsowa further said that groundnuts production has evolved in Kwara State as the association have about 10,000 registered groundnuts farmers cutting across the 16 Local Government Areas of the state.
“Kwara produces a large quantity of groundnuts. It took us a long time before we were captured at national level. Presently we have about 10,000 groundnuts farmers across the 16 LGs of Kwara.
“About 2,850 of our members were captured under the Federal Government Anchor Borrower Scheme and they supplied us inputs to boost our production. We were not given money directly for fear of diversion,” he stressed.
The Chairman, however, noted that groundnuts farmers have contributed to Kwara economy in no small measure as more youths have key into farming in the state.
“Groundnuts production has contributed hugely to Kwara economy in recent time. Many youths are into the business.
“Our major challenge is finance. Most farmers don’t have capacity to expand their farms. That mean we are short of production. People that are willing to get into farming don’t have land again, ” he said.
By Mike Adeyemi