COVID-19: FG flags off distribution of agricultural inputs to avert food crisis

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Muhammad Sabo Nanono has flagged-off the distribution of agricultural inputs to Nigerian farmers as mitigation measures of the pandemic to boost Agricultural production in the country and avert food scarcity in 2021.

The inputs to the smallholder farmers include various varieties of seeds of rice, maize wheat and palm seedlings.

Speaking during the Flag-off ceremony at the Livestock House in Mando, Kaduna State, Alhaji Nanono noted that the Federal Government through the Ministry would continue to support the Smallholders farmers with relevant inputs through Associations and cooperatives to ensure that the country does not experience food shortages as a result of the pandemic.

The Minister pointed out that rice farmers through the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria will receive support worth about 270 Metric MT and 300 MT each of certified seeds of FARO 66 and 300 MT of foundation seeds of flood-tolerant rice varieties of FARO 66 and FARO 67 respectively.

He further said, “the Ministry is also distributing 26MT of certified wheat seeds to wheat farmers, 1350 maize production kits and 18,517Kg of Aflasafe to ensure that the maize produced is aflatoxin-free.”

Nanono stressed that ‘’the association is expected to distribute the seeds to their members nationwide for the 2020 cropping season. It is also giving out 20MT of breeder seeds of the same varieties to fourteen (14) selected Seed Companies that have the capacity to produce foundation seed.”

He said the Ministry is also distributing 66,000 sprouted nuts of oil palm to farmers in Kogi, Nasarawa, and Kaduna states. These seeds according to him, are free of charge to the beneficiaries while other farm inputs like water pumps, irrigation kits, seed planter among others would be given out at 75% subsidy.

He emphasised that “In our input distribution efforts, at least 35% of the inputs are targeted at women farmers in line with the targets set in our National Gender Plan and Policies aimed at ensuring increased opportunities for women. This has been communicated to the Farmer Associations accordingly.”

Nanono also said that “It should be noted that this is the second in the series of the distribution of the Ministry’s palliatives to farmers nationwide. Last week in Kano, we collaborated with development partners led by International Crops Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), to flag-off the distribution of sorghum, millet, cowpea and rice to 8,200 farmers from 13 States.”

To this end, the Minister said that there will be another major roll-out of support to farmers in Oyo State on the 11th of June, 2020, improved seeds and seedlings of yam, maize, oil palm, cocoa, and Kenaf among others would be distributed to farmers at the event.

ALSO READ: Small scale women farmers kick against reduction of agriculture budget

He, however, urged the beneficiaries to make judicious use of these inputs to produce food for the nation while calling on other stakeholders to provide similar support to farmers so that together we can defeat COVID-19 pandemic.

In his remarks, the Executive Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El- Rufai appreciated President Muhammadu Buhari led administration policies in the Agricultural sector from 2015 to date.

Mallam El- Rufai stressed that the Agricultural Mechanization and improved extension services are vital towards improving the Agricultural sector and would encourage investors and other relevant stakeholders.

Giving his Goodwill Message, the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Senator (Dr.), Abdullahi Adamu pointed out that there is need to create more awareness about the Federal Government policies in the Agricultural sector and he also expressed the importance of manpower training for the extension services workers with latest innovation towards boosting Agricultural production.

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