In a strategic move aimed at elevating agricultural productivity and ensuring increased output, the Nasarawa State government has unveiled plans to distribute 26,000 bags of fertiliser to smallholder farmers across the state.
The state governor, Engr. Abdullahi Sule made this announcement during a courtesy visit to the Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Sen. Abubakar Kyari at the ministry’s headquarters in Abuja.
Sule emphasised the state’s commitment to supporting farmers in dry-season farming over the past four and a half years. Addressing the challenges faced by farmers due to the high cost of living, he revealed that the initial plan to distribute 13,000 bags of fertiliser had been doubled to 26,000 bags.
“In response to the renewed hope agenda and a request from the Minister of Agriculture, we have decided to double our efforts. If we were initially providing 13,000 bags of fertiliser to farmers, we will now increase it to 26,000 bags. This proactive step is taken in recognition of the challenges faced by farmers, and the government is well-positioned to offer support to smallholder farmers, enhancing production and alleviating pressure on foreign exchange,” stated Sule.
Highlighting the economic concerns and inflationary pressures affecting farmers, the Governor mentioned the state’s exploration of strategic grain reserves to mitigate the impact. He also acknowledged the issue of hoarding food items in anticipation of price hikes and he indicated that the national security adviser, Nuhu Ribadu had communicated the president’s commitment to penalising perpetrators engaging in such practices.
In response to Sule’s announcement, Kyari commended the state’s significance in grains, legumes, and root crop cultivation, with several prominent rice millers located within the state. The minister urged the state to be prepared to offer additional support to farmers during this crucial period.
Kyari reflected on the challenges faced by farmers in accessing agro-inputs, particularly in states where farmers struggled to meet the 50 per cent counterpart payment required for the Federal Government’s subsidy on agro-inputs. He acknowledged the diverse approaches taken by states to support farmers, including additional subsidies, assistance with land clearing and investment in power tillers and solar-powered water pumps.
The minister also noted the establishment of a solar cell production plant in Gora, Nasarawa State, by the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI). He expressed optimism that the operational plant would feed solar-powered pump needs, benefiting the immediate environment and beyond.
This initiative signals the state’s commitment to fostering agricultural resilience, empowering farmers and contributing to the nation’s food security.