By Gabriel Ewepu
ABUJA – THE Federal Government, Friday, disclosed it approved N13 billion intervention fund to fight quelea birds, locusts, grasshoppers and other pests in 12 States in the north.
This was made known in a statement signed by the Director, Information, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Theodore Ogaziechi, which explained that the intervention fund is to ensure uninterrupted agricultural activities during 2020 farming season, control transboundary pests and minimize the impact of COVID-19 pandemic as well as guarantee both nutritional and national food security.
The benefiting 12 frontline states include Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara, Katsina, Kano, Jigawa, Bauchi, Gombe, Adamawa, Taraba, Yobe and Borno.
While flagging off the 2020 Dry Season Control of Transboundary (MIGRATORY) pest at Birnin Kebbi International Airport, Kebbi State, the Minister of Agricultural and Rural Development, Muhammad Nanono, explained why the government took the decision to release the funds said due to outbreak of desert locusts in East Africa and the Middle East, which West Africa, where Nigeria is geographically located could possibly have a fair share of locust swarm, hence necessitated the proactive measures to be ready to tackle any penetration of the dreaded pest and also control of all transboundary pests in order to protect the nation’s food system and production.
Nanono said, “The present administration under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari is very determined to fight any menace that would truncate the tremendous success recorded so far especially in the agricultural sector.
“The choice of Kebbi State for the flag-off is deliberate, in view of the extensive agricultural activities in the state and the immense cooperation and collaboration of the State government in the implementation of agricultural interventions over the years.”
He also acknowledged the Governor of Kebbi State, Abubakar Bagudu, for efforts made to control migratory pests in the state and helping farmers to actualize their dreams.
He also commended Governors of the frontline States for their collaboration and cooperation with the Ministry towards reducing effect of migratory pests in their states and for protecting farmers’ investments.
Meanwhile, Bagudu in his remarks applauded vision and efforts of the President for the various agricultural policies and projects to boost food production and security, job creation and diversify the economy.