Agric

February 27, 2022

16,000 farmers benefit from Sokoto state-subsidized farm inputs in 2022 — Commissioner

Sokoto farmers

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By Dirisu Yakubu,SOKOTO

In its build to boost agricultural production, the Sokoto state government said 16,000 farmers have been enlisted to benefit from its free improved seeds and subsidized agricultural inputs to be distributed this year.

Sokoto state Commissioner for Agriculture, Prof. Aminu Abubakar disclosed this while speaking with newsmen who are part of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP Governors’ Forum Peer Review Team in Sokoto.

The Commissioner named the inputs to include water pumping machine for irrigation faming; Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium (NPK) fertilizer, insecticides, herbicides, tomatoes paste processing machines, rice milling and processing machines among others.

The improved seedlings according to him include rice, wheat and tomatoes, adding that the crops have been prioritized by Governor Aminu Waziri “given the comparative cost advantage of growing them.”

Abubakar noted that farmers drawn from the 23 local government areas of the state will benefit from the subsidized inputs to boost their production.

He said: “Recently, we entered into collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria on the commercial agricultural scheme and that project consumed about four billion naira.

“What we have here are the materials that are going to be given to three crops that are going to be promoted across the state.

“The crops are 60 per cent rice, 30 per cent wheat and 10 per cent Tomatoes. These are done to help our complete value chain, that is from the farmers to uptakers and even to processors.

“The inputs supply are already in stock and list of benefiting farmers are already generated.

“Very soon, we are going to distribute this facility to the farmers.

“You can see that Sokoto State has transformed into rice producing state and wheat have also followed suit. We are also going to tomatoes. So this is not all,” he said.

Some of the input already stocked for the programmes include over 37,000 of 50Kgs bags of NPK fertilizer, 1,500 pumping machines, over 30 milling machines, over 600 insecticides sprayers, while more are still expected.

Abubakar commended Governor Tambuwal for his critical intervention programmes in the agricultural sector which he listed to include subsidizing fertilizers, giving loans and palliatives to farmers in order to boost agricultural production.

He recalled that in 2021, the state government sold a bag of NPK fertilizer to farmers at a cost of N4,000 at a time market price was N12,000 per bag.

“We sold urea at a cost of N5,500 and the cost of urea in the market is now N18,000. This subsidy cut across the 23 LGAs. No local government is left out. The same thing is going to happen with the 16,000 farmers that are going to benefit from this project.

“We have three categories of these farmers. We have the large scale farmers, we have the medium-scale farmers, and we have the small scale farmers. These are going to constitute the 16,000 farmers.”

Abubakar said that the state government had put in place measures to ensure that the farm inputs were not diverted, by setting up different committees in all the processes involved in the distribution.

He added that the state also had its Commodity Board to take up the produced commodities in the event that up-takers disappoint farmers buying off their produce.

These according to him include the setting up of steering committee organizing the process and a technical committee at every stage as well as monitoring committee and distribution committees in different categories.

“The whole aim of this project is to alleviate poverty, generate employment for our youths and teaming farmers and to improve on our food production.

“In Sokoto state today, on daily basis, over 60 trucks of onions are being exported and that is not magic. It has to be the enabling environment that has been provided for the farmers,” he added.