The Federal Government says it will soon commence the distribution of agricultural inputs to farmers for the 2021 wet season farming.
The director of information, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr Theodore Ogaziechi announced this on Thursday when he spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
He said the distribution was to enhance production of food and balanced nutrition, create more jobs, and boost wet season farming.
“Government has commenced activities to encourage farmers with the roll-out of free inputs distribution to 7,500 small scale women farmers from the north central states and the Federal Capital Territory,” he said.
Ogaziechi said the ministry had performed similar exercises in Kaduna, Oyo, Kogi, Cross River, Imo, Kebbi, Jigawa, Gombe and Borno states by assisting smallholders farmers with quality inputs.
He pointed out that the Federal Government had foreclosed the 2020 roll out of inputs distribution to farmers, saying ”hopefully, we will commence the 2021 inputs distribution soonest”.
“The Federal Government is also disbursing inputs at a subsidized rate in order to encourage farmers and increase production,” Ogaziechi said.
During the pandemic, he said government through the Ministry of Agriculture gave out subsidised 5,000 metric tonnes of maize in support of poultry farmers.
Ogaziechi disclosed that President Muhammadu Buhari had approved the release of the maize from the National Strategic Grains Reserve to support the Poultry Association of Nigeria at a subsidised rate of N90,000 per metric tonne as against the market price of N170,000 then.
He said the gesture was also part of the general release of the presidential 70,000 metric tonnes of assorted grains palliative to vulnerable Nigerians.
He said the Minister of Agriculture, Alhaji Muhammad Nanono also allocated 12,500 metric tonnes of food ration to the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Farouq, for victims of disasters.
According to Ogaziechi, the 12,500 tonnes were from the Minna silos in Niger State which was also part of the National Strategic Food Reserve.
He said the ministry also simultaneously released the rest of the assorted food items as directed by Buhari from government’s silos in Gusau, Zamfara State, Dutsin Ma, Katsina State, Yola, Adamawa State, Lafia, Nasarawa and Ilesha, Osun.
He also said government had a lot of agricultural inputs in its warehouses waiting for farmers to buy at subsidized rates, pointing out that government was serious about food security and so took concrete steps to stack up food in the silos.
Ogaziechi said out of the 33 silo complexes nationwide, government still had 14 under its management with 19 under concession, adding concessioning was to bring in the private sector and increase capacity utilisation of the silo complexes for the benefit of the farmers in particular and the nation in general.
“It should be stressed that the final handover of the silo complexes to the concessionaires is only possible when the transaction adviser has certified that the concessionaires have met all the conditions necessary.
“This will enable concessionaires carry out the needed repairs and a joint inspection will be carried out at the end of the repairs with the staff of the agriculture ministry.
“This will also ascertain the readiness of the concessionaires to start full operation and thus determine the effective date of the transaction,” Ogaziechi further said.
He added government also provided relief materials to flood victims and farmers in Kebbi and other states in the north-west by ensuring they received improved seeds to restart planting as soon as the water receded. (NAN)