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Nasarawa farmers vow not to vote politicians with no plans for agric.

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Association of Small Scale Agro Producers in Nigeria (ASSAPIN), in Nasarawa State has vowed not to vote candidates who failed to make commitment toward improving small scale farming in the state.

The association comprising some farmers in State, made its position known on Thursday in Lafia, during the presentation of its manifesto to political office seekers to get their documented commitment to improving small scale agriculture when elected.

Mr Joshua Jonathan, the National President of ASSAPIN said that smallholder accounted for over 80 per cent of farmers in the country.
Jonathan said that the small holder farmers had been marginalised, excluded and disempowered by successive governments over the years in terms of agricultural policies and programmes.
He also said that farmers constituted over 75 per cent of the voting population in the country and with their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs), they should be taken seriously during elections.
“The era of vote buying is coming to end, we will no longer sell our votes and future for politicians to enjoy our collective wealth while we languish in poverty.

“We are tired of bags of rice, salt and wrappers in exchange for our future and that of our children.
“Now we have our PVCs and our manifesto, which is the instrument of our demands, it is now time for the candidates to make commitment and sign on what you will deliver when elected and we shall hold you accountable to your vow.
“No more bogus promises, commit and sign and be voted by farmers. Redeem your promises and be voted for another term,” Jonathan added.
He said that the event was a collective and proactive attempt at reactivating competition among political actors for the benefit of the masses.
“The essence of this process is not to support any particular candidate or give preference to any but to secure our demands as small holder farmers and make political gladiators more responsive and accountable to the electorates.
He said the small holder farmers were always available to dialogue to set agenda for incumbent government and political office seekers on emerging issues on best agricultural investment policies, practices and projects that would boost the sector.
“We therefore, unanimously declare that any political office seeker at any level interested in our votes and support may need to select and endorse some or all of our demands to be implanted when elected into office.
“Your commitment here today will be documented and be used in tracking your performance thereafter,” Jonathan added.
Mr Sulaimon Arigbabu, the representative of the Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA) resource Centre Lagos; one of partners of ASSAPIN, said the farmers’ manifesto encapsulates the challenges facing small scale farming and the solutions requiring concrete commitment from government.
He said that the documents would guide political office seekers to better understand the needs of small scale farmers and how to address them appropriately in order to boost production and guarantee food security in the country.
Arigbabu said that signing the document would serve as constant reminder to the political office seekers to formulate and implement policies that would improve agricultural production.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that three governorship candidates, one senatorial candidates and two states house of assembly candidates attended the occasion and made commitments by signing the farmers’ manifesto.
The governorship candidates are Umar Aliyu Doma of the Zenith Labour Party, Umar Angibi also the Labour Party, and Labaran Maku, the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) was represented by his deputy, Alhaji Ibrahim Abu

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