Agric minister flags off dry season input distribution to farmers

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD, Dr. Mohammad Mahmoud Abubakar, has flagged-off the distribution of agricultural inputs and quality seeds to small-holders farmers in Plateau state.

Flagging off the event on Friday in Jos, Plateau state, the minister said, the exercise would stimulate local production of food to achieve self-sufficiency, all season farming, attract investments, create jobs and enhance the livelihood of farming families in the plateau and environs.

Dr. Abubakar stated that the Agric sector has become one of the major contributors to the country’s economy, contributing about 25% to our Gross Domestic product (GDP) and smallholder farmers accounting for about 70% of national food production.

He pointed out that: “this was achieved through the implementation of strategic policies such as the Agriculture for Food and Jobs Plan (AFJP), the Green Imperative, Agricultural Promotion Policy, as well as the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative (PFI) among others.

“The impact of these policies and programmes manifested during the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused a lot of disruptions along the Agricultural Value Chains, leading to global trade disruptions, resulting in heavy economic losses to farmer’s livelihood.

“The Ministry designed a support programme targeting smallholder farmers to enable them get back to the farms and continue production to sustainably rebuild their production activities and their means of livelihood. This is to enhance farming family income, create jobs and generate wealth.

“Among the numerous initiatives being implemented by the Ministry and the farmers will be supported with inputs Seeds, Growth Enhancers, Seedlings, Sprayers, Equipment among others. 35% of these items will go to Women Cooperative Groups, 15% to people with Special needs while 50% will go to Farmer Associations in various production clusters”.

The Minister appealed to the beneficiaries of to make judicious use of these inputs in order to enhance food production in our dear country.

In his remarks, the Executive Governor of Plateau State, Rt. Hon. Simon Lalong, appreciated the President Muhammadu Buhari led Government for the flag-off exercise in the state, stating that it would cushion the effect of the COVID – 19 Pandemic, promote dry season farming, boost production and generate income for the farmers and the state at large.

He said his administration has done much in addressing the problems of farmers-herders conflicts as well as guaranteeing the safety of our farmers, adding that the State is among few States which is in the process of implementing modern ranching which is encapsulated in the National Livestock Transformation Program (NLTP). We have sent a draft bill to the State House of Assembly which is receiving the desired attention and will hopefully be passed soon”.

He informed that “the Yakubu Gowon Airport has been designated as an international cargo airport, we shall begin the export of exotic farm products such as vegetables, flowers, rice, maize, potato and yam which are unique and peculiar to our weather.

The Agricultural Inputs and Quality seeds distributed are as follows; 99 bags of Yam seeds, 100 bags of Samnut, 100 bags of cow pea seeds, 80 bags of Samaz seeds, 80 bags of potatoes seeds, 20 bags of Cashew Nuts, 100 bags of maize seeds, 1,310 oil palm seedlings.

Also, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr. Ernest Umakhihe the same day represented the Minister of agriculture in Osun state to distribute Agricultural Inputs for dry season farming to smallholder farmers in Osogbo, Osun State. The items includes: 3,000 oil palm seedlings, 1500kg cashew seedsi 20,000 nos certified seed yams as well as 200 liters of path away organic growth enhancers. Other are: 4,000 bundles of orange-fleshed sweet potatoes; 3000 bundles of cassava stems as well as various agricultural equipment and biochemicals.