COVID-19 : Nigeria distributes free seeds, fertilizers, to Kogi farmers
As part effort to ensure food production is not affected by the devastating effect of COVID-19 and ensure a more sustainable and resilient food system in the country, the Nigerian Government Thursday handed over farm inputs to Kogi state farmers.
Minister of Agriculture Sabo Nanono, while Speaking during the flag-off ceremony at the Ministry’s Warehouse at Okene road, Kogi State, said the distribution of the free agricultural inputs to smallholder farmers was to enhance food production, create employment and enable farmers to recover quickly from sudden shocks of the COVID-19 Pandemic as well as sustain food supply in 2021.
The Minister noted that “the decision of the Ministry to support the smallholder farmers with various inputs especially improved seeds of some priority crops namely; cashew, sesame, soybeans and potatoes through farmer associations, women and youth groups and cooperatives nationwide is to avert food scarcity in the country as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Part of the free inputs distributed to the farmers included 38,142KG of improved cashew seeds for distribution to 3,798 of cashew farmers across the country for the 2020 cropping season.”
Others included 27,000kg of certified sesame seeds to about 5,400 sesame farmers, 50,000kg of soybeans seeds for to soybeans farmers and 12,000 bundles of Orange Fleshed Sweet Potato (OFSP) for 1,200 farmers, 15,000 sachets of red force, 3,000 sachets of glory crop protection, 580 litres of soil amender and 500 litres of organic fertilizer to potato farmers.”
He disclosed that while the ministry is providing the seeds to the farmers free, other inputs are given at 75% subsidy.”
He stressed that “in our input distribution efforts, at least 35% of the inputs are targeted at women and youth farmers in line with the targets set in our National Gender Action Plan for Agriculture and Policies aimed at ensuring increased opportunities for women. This has been communicated to the Farmer Associations accordingly.”
In his remarks, Governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, represented by the deputy governor, Edward Onoja, thanked the President Muhammadu Buhari for the diversification of THE economy of the country with robust Agricultural policies, which would ensure food security and increase the revenue of the nation.
In her vote of thanks, Director, Federal Department of Agriculture, Mrs Karima Babangida, appreciated the Kogi State Government and other Relevant Stakeholders for their collaboration with the policies of the Ministry in mitigation of the effects of COVID – 19 Pandemic in Nigeria.