Many have commented after I noted that farmers are doing (paywall) well under Buhari. Sure, the disagreements are welcome provided they are not personal. I have problems with the government but on agriculture, it has made progress. These are some of the comments:
- “His first 3 years have made many farmers richer [I know this because I work with them]”…Now, this is a very interesting irony – Rich Farmers in a Country where people can barely feed. Hmm! However, I know a Network Engineer, who put all his savings into starting a farm. He is financially challenged today and has had to abandon his farm because of herdsmen! Not just him alone, I know at least one other farmer that has now abandoned his farm for fear of terror. These guys did plan but in Nigeria, planning is challenged. Seriously, I am at a loss as to where this system is leading to. Please note, not Buhari as a person, but the system we have all conspired too put in place! I said this in 2015, even with so much optimism about the Buhari administration: “That the failure of the PMB administration would not be the blame of man Mohammadu Buhari, but the failure of the Nigerian state. This is because a people deserve the leader it gets. At 75 years old, do we all as Nigerians think PMB in this mould and stock is the kind of leader we need in the year 2019.
- If agriculture is the sole yardstick, has the President done better than Dr. Akinwumi – the agric minister in the last government? Besides who should do well? Farmers or the citizenry? It’s even contradictory to talk of doing well in agric when farmers across the land are being disturbed by herdsmen more than ever before. Or is agric all about animal husbandry where herdsmen are riding rough shod on other farmers’ shoulders? Please, even in educational systems globally, brilliance in just one subject is not enough for you to progress academically and in real life. So, for a holistic picture, assess him on the entire economy and security.
- Quite frankly, Buhari’s administration has been good for business in agriculture and also in terms of economic recovery. However, the only reason why we should settle for a discussion that assumes he will secure a second term is if we all conclude that there can be no better alternatives in the 2019 elections. In essence, if Nigerians are generally dreadful of another 4 years of the current administration, then it might be worthwhile to widen the scope to include other scenarios of business-oriented potentials under the leadership of other candidates that have emerged. My 2kobo opinion.
Some have noted how they started farming and have to fold because they could not make money. This is the point: I am not saying that a software engineer that wakes up and starts farming might have done well. Yes, there were teachers that started investing in stocks that lost money but that does not mean stock pickers have not made money [UBA has moved from N2.73 to N11 within 2 years].
If you are a farmer, and in a cooperative, government is providing support. The supports are coming from new seeds, fertilizers, mapping etc. But you must belong to a COOPERATIVE because government has to use scale to provide these supports. If you are a banker in Lagos running a farm by the side, and not in a cooperative, you may not get this help.
Also, the briefcase farmers [those invisible farms] are gone because government requires a FARM SURVEY from farmers before they provide funds. Suddenly, the big farmer cannot give a location of his farm. When government gives you money now, it knows the exact spot on earth that farm is located. And it tracks progress through technology.
Because the funds are tied to BVN, there is no hiding place for a crook.
The software engineer that runs a farm but is not part of a cooperative is like running a bank and not in the banker’s committee. Government cannot meet all farmers. It works through cooperatives. This is one way of bringing scale and professionalizing agriculture.
I am big on this. I do talk to people in the southern part of Nigeria to ask their governors to tap into the CBN agro fund. But most do not. But in the North, the governors commit to these funds. Most in the south do not bother [agriculture has never been a priority to most southern leaders]. You do not blame the President; you blame your governors. That is why in your village in Cross River, Abia, Oyo, etc, you see none of these programs. Your governors have shown no interest to agriculture.
Finally, the greatest favor Buhari did to farmers was restricting importation of many food items. That has helped many farmers to get loans since the demand is there. That is the basis of my point as I noted in the video where I noted that Buhari has done well to farmers. But that does not mean that he has been stellar in many other areas. Sure, being a president requires a broad vision. That is valid but on agriculture, they have a plan unlike other areas where I have not seen any clear execution strategy as I noted in the video.