Mr Bayo Ajayi, a veteran farmer and member of the Cassava Growers Association of Nigeria, has accused middlemen of robbing Nigerian farmers of the gains from agriculture.
Ajayi told newsmen in Ibadan that middlemen constituted one of the greatest enemies of farmers.
“When farmers harvest their crops, middlemen will just go and borrow money from banks and buy up the crops cheaply.
“They buy cheaply from the farmers and sell at higher prices in the market.
“They are cheating the farmers and cheating the nation,” Ajayi said.
He also alleged that corrupt government officials diverted grants and loans meant for farmers to personal use or to their friends.
“That is why agricultural productivity is low in this country.
“Farmers cannot get assistance but politicians and friends of government officials receive assistance; yet they are not farmers, they cannot produce,” Ajayi noted.
He also described farmers as enemies to themselves.
Many farmers were at loggerheads over position in various commodity associations instead of uniting to develop agriculture and present a common front.
According to him, any serious farmer who has his own farms, will not be entangled in jostling for positions and other insignificant matters.
He, therefore, appealed to farmers to be dedicated to their profession.
“It is only when they are united that they will be able to confront and solve the problems of middlemen and corrupt government officials.”