The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) has revealed that the ministry is set to collaborate with the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) to enhance Nigeria’s agricultural productivity, food security and create more jobs for the nation’s teeming youths.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Mohammad Abubakar made this known when he received the AFAN president, Alhaji Mudi Farouk who led the association’s delegation on a courtesy visit to the minister’s office in Abuja.
He said that it was in line with the diversification policy of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, to help the nation transit from an oil-dependent economy to an agriculture-based one. “The ministry through its various departments and agencies is ready to give the necessary support to the association to increase agricultural practices and productivity in Nigeria.”
He commended the association for coming up with the Farmers Health Insurance Scheme (FHIS) to cater for farmers’ health, secure tricycles, double cabin vans and fully, air-conditioned minibuses built to endure rugged farm terrains.
The minister further revealed that the use of tricycles by the smallholders farmers in communities across the country would ease transportation and ensure that food and agro-allied products arrive at nearby markets fresher and increase farmers’ income.
Abubakar, therefore, advised the association on the need to train farmers to enhance their operations such as use of equipment effectively.
In his remarks, the permanent secretary, FMARD, Dr. Ernest Umakhihe said that the ministry was open and ready to work with AFAN, especially in data generation, tractors’ loans and the microfinance banks. ‘’There should be a synergy between the association and the ministry to boost the nation’s agricultural productivity’’.
Earlier, Farouk said the purpose of the delegation’s visit was to solicit for tbe association’s direct involvement in the ministry’s activities to be able to perform better. He highlighted AFAN’s achievements in the year to include the establishment of a microfinance bank (All Farmers and Women Microfinance Bank), provision of loans for tractors to members, commencement of farmers data generation, among others.
In a related development, the minister also received the senior special assistant (SSA) to the President, on job creation, Mrs. Tilda Ndu Mmegwa.
A statement by the ministry’s director of information signed by Mabel Obe, said the SSA said that the key objectives of the office, was to establish baseline jobs created by each agency from 2017 to Dec 31, 2021, based on the agency’s job creation mandate in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) 2017- 2020 and the new National Development Plan (NDP) 2021- 2025, coordinate the implementation of existing policies and initiatives on job creation amongst others.