Potato Farmers Association of Nigeria (POFAN) has decried the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development over its exclusion in the launch of the 5-year rolling plan on Irish potato.
The National President (POFAN), Chief Daniel Okafor, expressed the displeasure while speaking in Abuja on Wednesday.
Okafor said in spite of the effort by POFAN to reposition potato status in the country, the ministry was yet to recognise its effort, adding that such attitude was discouraging and unpleasant to members.
”It beats my imagination that all the efforts we made to reposition potato status including running a training programme free in Plateau and other states is not recognised.
”Not even POFAN chairman in Plateau was invited in the launch of the programme. POFAN is not contacted in any of the programmes across the states.
“Recall that it was our organisation that brought the issue of irish potato in Plateau to the Federal Ministry of Agriculture.
“We collaborated with the Netherlands and pursed it until they expressed interest. Who then are the farmers they discovered to work with, ” he queried.
Okafor, however, said that there seemed to be some undertones by excluding the association, adding that POFAN had played a pivotal in ensuring the sustainability of Irish potatoes in the country through Potato Farmers under its umbrella.
“I am complaining because you know the role my organisation played, that’s what we get from these people after suffering for them with open mind.
“It’s a disaster and a pity that POFAN was not carried along. This is the same Ministry we presented a proposal penultimate week in a meeting we had with them just before the launch.
He said POFAN inaugurated a 10 year rolling plan two years ago which they were invited, adding that the ministry was not unaware of its contribution in potato agric subsector.
He said, the ministry had been sidelining POFAN in its own programme,
”We shall soon come out in a different way to protest it. It’s becoming unbecoming.”