The Federal Government of Nigeria has released implementation guidelines for the upcoming second phase, in a bid to address challenges encountered during the first phase of dry season farming.
The Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Sen. Abubakar Kyari made this known when he received the executive governor of Kwara State, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq; governor of Ondo State, Lucky Orimisan Aiyedatiwa; governor of Taraba State, Agbu Kefas; and governor of Kogi State, Ahmed Usman Ododo at the ministry’s headquarters in Abuja.
Highlighting the glitches experienced in the first phase, particularly in wheat production across 15 participating states, the minister emphasised the need for additional guidelines for the second phase, which is part of the Dry Season Food Production Programme under the National Agricultural Growth Scheme and Agro-Pocket (NASG-AP).
One of the key guidelines involves the establishment of a NASG-AP state working committee, chaired by the executive governor or their representative. The minister stressed the importance of active involvement by sub-national governments to ensure sustainable agricultural production and the realisation of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s interconnected 8-point agenda.
As the second phase expands to cover the entire country, the minister urged state governors to ensure the readiness of their respective states for optimal participation in cultivating rice, maize and cassava. He outlined criteria such as prepared and available land, irrigable lands owned by verifiable genuine farmers and full state participation throughout the entire agricultural chain.
Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of Kwara State advocated for the ministry to be the sole administrator of agricultural programmes in the country. He emphasised the urgency of addressing food security and leveraging dry-season farming initiatives. According to him, making the ministry the “one-stop-shop” would streamline programmes and interventions, leading to more impactful outcomes.
AbdulRazaq, the chairman of Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF), highlighted the importance of the dry-season farming programme, particularly focusing on rice, cassava and maize. He underscored the urgency of improving agricultural yields to meet the demands of Nigeria’s population and expressed a vision where Nigeria becomes a food exporter to the rest of West Africa.
“The ministry has come up with a programme emphasising rice, cassava and maize. So, we want to take advantage of the program and urgently make sure we improve our yield to deliver to the Nigerian population. It will get to a stage where Nigeria exports to the rest of West Africa. Nigeria’s food is the cheapest in West Africa today,” said AbdulRazaq.
The unveiling of guidelines for the second phase signals the government’s commitment to addressing challenges and ensuring the success of dry-season farming initiatives across the country.