June 9, 2020

FG commences distribution of farm inputs to farmers in Kaduna amid COVID-19 crisis

Bandits kill 23 in Kaduna villages

By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja

The Federal Government, Monday, disclosed commencement of distribution of farm inputs to farmers in Kaduna State amid the ravaging Coronavirus, COVID-19 crisis.

This was made known in a statement signed by the Director, Information, Federal Ministry of Agriculture Rural Development, Theodore Ogaziechi, which the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mohammad Nanono, flagged-off the distribution of inputs including rice, maize wheat and palm seedlings at Livestock House in Mando, Kaduna State.

According to Mohammad distribution of agricultural inputs to farmers is to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on farmers’ finances to afford seeds for 2020 farming season.

He also assured farmers across the country that the government would not relent in supporting farmers with inputs this farming season and along other value chains in the sector through the various farmer associations and cooperatives in order to escape the looming food crisis and hunger.

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He said: “Rice farmers through the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria, RIFAN, will receive support worth about  270 metric tonnes and 300 metric tonnes each of certified seeds of FARO 66 and 300 metric tonnes of foundation seeds of flood-tolerant rice varieties of FARO 66 and FARO 67 respectively.

“The Ministry is also distributing 26 metric tonnes of certified wheat seeds to wheat farmers, 1,350 maize production kits and 18,517Kg of Aflasafe to ensure that the maize produced is aflatoxin-free.

“The associations are expected to distribute the seeds to their members nationwide for the 2020 cropping season. It is also giving out 20 metric tonnes of breeder seeds of the same varieties to 14 selected Seed Companies that have the capacity to produce foundation seed.

“The Ministry is also distributing 66, 000 sprouted nuts of oil farmers in Kogi, Nasarawa, and the Kaduna States. These seeds 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 per cent subsidy.”

Meanwhile, the Minister said women farmers are given special attention as35 per cent of inputs go to them, because of their strategic position in food production over the years.

“In our input distribution efforts, at least 35 per cent of the inputs are targeted at women farmers in line with the targets set in our National Gender Plan and Policies, NGPP, aimed at ensuring increased opportunities for women. This has been communicated to the farmer associations accordingly”, he added.

He also made it known that distribution of input makes its second tranche of the Ministry’s palliative to farmers, which according to him another major roll-out of support to farmers will be on June 11, 2020, in Oyo State, where they will receive improved seeds and seedlings of yam, maize, oil palm, cocoa, and Kenaf, and others.

“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.

He also tasked benefiting farmers to effectively use the inputs received and be focused on food production that will sustain the country, and also called on other donors to support farmers in order to avert inherent food shortages occasioned by the pandemic.

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In appreciating the gesture, Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El- Rufai, said the Buhari-led administration on agricultural policies and progrmmes from 2015 has made an impact on the lives of farmers and the economy generally.

El- Rufai also expressed optimism that agricultural mechanization and improved extension services were critical for massive food production, which will attract potential investors to the sector.

“Mr. President is a leader, who saw tomorrow and with his policies in the Agric sector would enable our country to achieve food security and boost economic growth”, he said.

In a goodwill message, Chairman, Senate Committee on Agriculture, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, said more awareness creation about government policies will make Nigerians and investors know about opportunities in the sector.

Adamu also maintained that capacity building of extension services workers in the sector and latest agricultural innovation remain paramount for success in the sector and to make food available, accessible, and affordable to Nigerians.