By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
Farmers and physically challenged persons in Gombe State, have received Federal Government’s irrigation pumps, multipurpose threshers, powered sprayers, and quality seeds ahead of 2021 farming season.
The free distribution of inputs to the farmers was done by the Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Hon Mustapha Baba Shehuri, and made known in a statement signed by Director, Information, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Theodore Ogaziechi.
Shehuri who flagged-off distribution of the free agricultural inputs and quality seeds to smallholders farmers at the weekend, maintained that the inputs would ensure food and nutrition security, create more jobs for teaming Nigerian youths and boost dry-season farming.
According to the statement the Minister said it is part of the mitigation measures against the effect of COVID-19 pandemic and flood disaster that wrecked havoc on the farmlands across the country.
The statement reads in part, “The Ministry would support breeder and foundation seed production and link up with the private seed companies to ensure that certified seeds are available to local farmers nationwide.
“Improved rural infrastructure and other value chain support would invariably contribute to the attainment of Mr. President’s desire towards ensuring easy access to quality food and nutrition for Nigerians.
“The Ministry has supported Gombe State with subsidized inputs with over 350 3HP and 30 7HP irrigation pumps, multipurpose threshers, over 70 Motorized and dual powered sprayers amongst others.
“Under our world bank assisted Nutrition Programme, we have provided multiple pieces of training and homestead farming input packages including tomato, pepper, pawpaw among others in five local government areas in the state as well as irrigation kits designed to improve the household nutrition.
“The smallholder farmers in the State will today receive the following free inputs; 10,000 Gum Arabic Seedlings, 15 metric tonnes of rice seed, 2.5 metric tonnes groundnut foundation seeds, 1,000 KG of Castor seeds, 1,500 KG of cashew nuts as well as Ratkin and Liptol – organic insecticides to combat armyworm infestation and Equipment like water pumps, maize threshers among others.”
He also disclosed that his Ministry has been on similar exercise assisting farmers in various States because the Buhari-led administration places a high value on farmers.
“So far, the Ministry has performed similar exercise in Kano, Kaduna, Katsina, Kogi, Oyo, Cross River, and Imo states, with this being the 8th edition, assisting smallholders farmers with quality inputs to ensure sustainable food security, job creation, and revenue generation to grow the nation’s economy.
“In our input distribution efforts, at least 35 per cent of these inputs are targeted at the women farmers, this is in line with the targets set in our national gender action plan and policies aimed at ensuring increased opportunities for women.
“In order to alleviate the effect of the flood on farmers, inputs were distributed to farmers in Jigawa, Kebbi, Nasarawa and Benue state”, he said.
However, the Minister tasked the benefiting farmers to make judicious use of the inputs to produce food for the nation as he called on other stakeholders to provide similar support to farmers.
“So that together we can defeat COVID-19 Pandemic and become self-sufficient in food production”, he added.
Meanwhile, two physically challenged persons were the first beneficiaries to receive the packages from the Director Federal Department of Agriculture, Hajia Karima Babangida.
In a related development, the Minister also visited Soro Community in Bauchi State where the Ministry through the Department of Rural Development is constructing a 1.5-kilometer asphaltic road aimed at providing access road for farmers, increase production, and locally generated revenue.
Earlier, the Minister paid a courtesy visit to the Governor of Bauchi State, Senator Bala Mohammed, and assured that, “the Ministry will continue to work with State Governments especially Bauchi State, Farmers and other stakeholders to achieve President Buhari’s promise to diversify the economy, revitalize and modernize Agricultural sector.
“We want to see farmers earning a decent income and to be fully integrated into the mainstream of our National Economy.
While responding, Governor Bala Mohammed, said that the State has result-driven policies and programmes which allow investors to invest in the Agricultural sector, adding that the policies would provide a conducive business environment for willing investors, create jobs and boost the economic growth of the people.