The on-going nationwide registration of farmers is targeted at capturing some 20 million farmers across the country, an official has said.
The exercise is part of the Federal Government Agriculture Transformation Agenda, according to Mr Yahaya Owoyale, an Assistant Director in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture.
Owoyale is also the coordinator for the registration exercise in Kwara State.
“This, we hope will assist in doing away with those bureaucratic bottlenecks and facilitate the prompt disbursement of materials and other incentives for the benefits of the farmers under the scheme.” he said.
He listed some of the benefits to include provision of improved seedlings, fertilizers, tractor hiring facilities, provision of fingerling as well as granting of credit facilities.
Owoyale explained that the exercise which commenced in 2012 is expected to register an estimated five million farmers yearly to meet up with 20 million targets nationwide in 2015.
“The registration exercise is expected to take place across every ward in each of the 36 states of the federation including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) with particular emphasis on the grassroots where the bulk of local farmers reside.
“This is the reason why the registration officers have been cautioned to exercise a little patience for the local farmers to return from their farms in the afternoon to be able to register.
Owoyale said that the exercise should not be construed as a political agenda, saying the only avenue a farmer could benefit from the scheme is to be duly registered.
Report says the exercise in the 11 wards of Omu-Aran in Irepodun Local Government Area of the State however witnessed a low turnout of farmers.
The exercise which started on March, 19 is expected to last for three weeks.
The registration officers told newsmen that they were forced to abandon their posts to embark on a house-to-house canvassing before farmers could come.
The highest number of farmers registered which was obtained at Omu-Aran Ward 1 was 40 as of March 22.
Some of the farmers, however, blamed the situation on inadequate awareness and the failure of the past registration exercises to yield any fruitful results.
The farmers equally blamed the authority for not giving preference to the farmers at the grassroots as regards publicity.
Alhaji Abdulsalam Ademola, Director, Latus Farms, Omu-Aran, said the awareness was not enough considering the national outlook and importance of the exercise to farmers.
“Majority of the local farmers are not duly informed, may be the right communication channel and strategy was not adopted to get the attention of the farmers, especially at the grassroots,” he said.
Mrs Abigail Oyeniyi, a fish farmer, expressed disappointment over the failure of government to improve the living standard of the farmers as promised during the last registration exercise.
“I was among those who registered in 2012 exercise but up till now nothing has happened,” Oyeniyi said.
Mr. Samuel Adeniyi, President, Agbeniyi Famer’s Association, Omu-Aran, however, said the farmer’s apathy toward the exercise was as a result of poor level of education and exposure.
He said the association had embarked on series of enlightenment and awareness campaign to educate the farmers on the need to register to be able to benefit from the project.
“Even if you have not benefited now, surely, you must have the opportunity one day, that is if you are duly registered as a practising farmer,” he said.
Mr. Yemi Aransiola, Councillor representing Omu-Aran Ward 1, said the council had started mobilising the farmers to register.
“We have started educating them through their unions on the importance of the exercise and the need to have their names registered to benefit from the scheme,” he said.