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Federal Government flags off distribution of agric inputs to avert food crisis

By Joke Falaju, Abuja
11 June 2020   |   3:12 am
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Muhammad Sabo Nanono, has flagged-off the distribution of agricultural inputs to Nigerian farmers

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Muhammad Sabo Nanono, has flagged-off the distribution of agricultural inputs to Nigerian farmers, as part of measures to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 pandemic to boost food production in the country and avert food scarcity in 2021.

The inputs distributed to smallholders farmers free of charge, were varieties of seeds of rice, maize, wheat, and palm seedlings while others like water pumps, irrigation kits, and seed planter would be given out at 75 percent subsidy.

Speaking during the flag-off ceremony at the Livestock House, in Mando, Kaduna State, Nanono said the Federal Government, through the Ministry, would continue to support smallholder 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 revealed that the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria, would receive about 270 metric tonnes (MT) of certified seeds of FARO 66, and 300MT of foundation seeds of flood-tolerant rice varieties of FARO 66 and FARO 67, respectively.

Nanono said the association was expected to distribute the seeds to their members for the 2020 cropping season. It will also give out 20MT of breeder seeds of the same variety to 14 selected seed companies that have the capacity to produce foundation seed.”

He emphasised that at least 35 percent of the inputs were targeted at women farmers in line with the targets set in the National Gender Plan, and policies aimed at ensuring increased opportunities for women, and the information has been communicated to the Farmer Associations accordingly.

Furthermore, he said the distribution was second in the series of palliatives given to farmers nationwide, in collaboration 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 in 13 states.

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

In his remarks, Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El- Rufai, appreciated the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration’s policies in the Agricultural sector from 2015, saying they would enable Nigeria to achieve food security and boost economic growth.

El- Rufai stressed that agricultural mechanization and improved extension services are vital to improving the sector, and would encourage investors and other relevant stakeholders to invest in it.
Giving his Goodwill Message, the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, stressed the need to create more awareness about Government policies in the Agricultural sector, and the importance of manpower training for extension services workers with the latest innovation towards boosting production.

In his Vote of thanks, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr. Abdulkadir Mua’zu, said: “the lockdown has taken a negative toll on our food production, and part of the strategy adopted by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is to reverse this trend and ensure the availability of quality seeds and other inputs for farmers so that they continue their farming activities without disruption so as to guarantee food security.”