The All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Lagos State Chapter, has distributed food items to 500 residents to complement the efforts of the Federal and State Governments during the lockdown period.Dr Femi Oke, AFAN Chairman, South-West Zone, presented the items to the beneficiaries on Friday in Lagos.
Oke said that the donation was a way to show solidarity with the vulnerable, less privileged and also give back to the society.
He said the items donated include: rice, garri, pepper, eggs, tomatoes, vegetables and pork meat locally produced by the farmers.According to him, we are here to distribute the palliatives that our members collectively brought together to give to the masses.
“This is to complement the efforts of the Federal and State Governments in regards to effects of the lockdown to contain the spread of COVID-19 pandemic in the state.
“Our members decided that whatever we make from our farmers we should bring it together for the masses to enjoy and see what we are doing during the lockdown.
“Our target was for 300 people, but to our surprise, we have over 500 in attendance, because of the situation in the country, we were able to give out to all of them.
“Many people are hungry; the women, children, youths, aged and physically challenged are without food, because they cannot got out to work due to the lockdown directive.
“We thank our farmers, especially those in the crops, they brought perishables items like tomatoes, peppers, pumpkins and vegetables.
“Those in the poultry value chain also supported with eggs, a poultry donated 100 crates of eggs, while another donated 50 crates. In all we have enough to give to the masses.
“Another farmer in the piggery value chain donated a pig to us, and it was shared while those in the cassava processing were able to produce garri, about 15 bags as part of the palliatives.
“We also donated rice, tomatoes paste and other items to the people,” he said.Oke said farmers have not benefited from the Federal or State Governments’ support during the lockdown.
He said that was why the association was clamoring for the office of the Special Adviser to the President on Food Security.
Oke said the association was clamouring for the creation of the office so as to address issues confronting farmers directly as well as issue regarding palliatives to the farmers.
He urged other organisations and NGOs to come together and support the vulnerable during the lockdown, adding that the government could not do it alone.
Mr Richard-Mark Mbaram, the Technical Adviser to the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development on Knowledge Management and Communication, commended the farmers for their gesture.
Mbaram said the importance of agriculture had come to play in the present situation in the country.
According to him, this is a health emergency, and we are trying to ensure that we flatten the curve of infection regarding COVID-19 and people have been asked to stay at home.
“We have locked down our society and by implication our economy.
“If you look at it critically, my minister has been consistent about the need for us to ensure that the agricultural sector is not locked down.
“This is because, if you lockdown agriculture, you are bound to have food insecurity and we need food security to have a national security.
“The challenges we are having for now with youths, all over the streets, lead to the fact that people do not have access to food.
“They are not about what they wear, or how they smell; they are really concern about what is in their stomach right now.
“So, this gesture by farmers is very laudable,” he said.
The special adviser urged other well meaning Nigerians to rally round and support the less privileged in the society to weather the situation caused by the pandemic.
“AFAN is the umbrella body of farmers in the country; they are the ones producing the foods and they are charged over the years producing the food for the country.
“The farmers are the custodians of food that we are talking about and it is in their place to demonstrate to the country that they are here for you.
“This is a collective emergency; it is not a government thing alone. So, we all must come together as individuals or groups to help out,” Mbaram said. (NAN)