Kayode Ehindero, the Kwara State chairman of Agricultural and Allied Employees Union of Nigeria (AAEUN), says about 90 percent of Nigerian farmers die of poverty.
Ehindero made the claim on Monday in Ilorin while speaking with reporters after members of the union completed an endurance trek as part of activities marking the commencement of the Kwara 2013 Agricultural Games.
He appealed to the Federal Government to spend more on productive sectors of the economy such as agriculture in order to boost the economy.
Successive administrations, he said, had been paying lip service to agriculture, adding that this had impacted negatively on the nation’s economy.
Ehindero, who noted that agriculture and sports had a symbolic relationship, added that this informed the decision to use the games to send a message to government.
He said the endurance trek tagged ‘Trek for the Forgotten Farmers’, was to draw attention to the plight of local farmers as well as the need to institute a social welfare scheme for them.
The Agricultural Games, he added, was introduced to promote relationship and unity among stakeholders in the sector.
He also said the Agriculture House under construction would serve as the secretariat of the union as well as host its Agriculture Academy to offer training on vocational studies relating to agriculture.
The Agriculture House, according to him, had gulped about N10 million and was about 90 percent completed.
Ehindero said another N5 million would be required to complete the project.
Six events were being competed for by workers from the six affiliated bodies in the one-week games.
Those involved are Agricultural and Rural Management Training Institute, the National Centre for Agricultural Mechanisation and the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
Others were Kwara Agricultural Development Programme, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and host, Niger River Basin Development Authority.
The events to be featured included judo, table tennis, football and athletics.