Dr Tai Oyekan, the Chairman, Lagos Chapter of the association, made the disclosure on Monday at an event marking the beginning of Cotton Planting in Badagry, Lagos State.
According to him, the association has so far expended over N30 million on 130 hectares of land so far, while still sourcing for over N60 million more to expand the farms to a minimum of 400 hectares this current planting season.
“For planting of cotton this season, we have land at Itoga, Badagry, the land is characteristically free-drained, fertile, friable soil, amongst other advantages which are supportive of cotton production.
“Also, for other cropping projects, we collaborated with the South West Farmers Union of Nigeria (SWFUN) chapters in Oyo, Ekiti and Ondo States to acquire sizeable farmlands in their respective jurisdiction.
“At home, we are working with our prospective members and stakeholders in Epe, Ibeju-Lekki, Ikorodu Local Government areas, to acquire more ploughable lands for our operations next season,” he said.
Oyekan said that the association was being funded through loan from the Anchor Borrower Programme (E-ABP) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
“However, unfortunately we are still expecting the support for land preparation activities in this part of the country in spite of the fact that we are at the peak of planting season.
“This gap made us to resort to self-help from private sources to salvage our investment and the economy of the state,” Oyekan said.
The NACOTAN chairman urged the Federal Government to ensure continuity, consistency, equity and fairness in policy implementation to raise farming to the next level.
According to him, the issue of timeliness should be taken seriously in project and policy implementation as we noted in our recommendations at the 2018 Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) in Agriculture and Transport Section.
“How do you explain the endless wait for land mechanisation support as contained in the approved Economics of Production (EOP) for Cotton by this time that planting is supposed to have been almost concluded?
“Agriculture is seasonal, especially in the rain-fed cropping regions where there are dearth of irrigation facilities due to complacency in the system.
“If these programmes are designed for peasant farmers, officials processing the transactions must be responsive and alive to their responsibilities to enable the country’s economy to realise good returns from government investment in agriculture.
“Credit must be given to the Raw Materials Research Development Council (RMRDC) that provided the cotton seedlings for our farmers and the Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR), Samaru, ABU, Zaria for the training of our lead farmers.
“State government should also provide farm equipment, irrigation facilities, free training and capacity building to the farmers’ associations to enable them to reduce unemployment and contribute to food security,” he said.