THE Federal Government has said that farmers would not be allowed to suffer in 2020 cropping season amid Coronavirus, COVID-19, pandemic.
The assurance was made by the Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Mustapha Shehuri, at the flag-off ceremony of the distribution of agricultural inputs to farmers as part of the mitigating measures against the pandemic in Ibadan, Oyo State.
He said: “The distribution of agricultural inputs to smallholder farmers which include different categories of seeds of Kenaf, yam and cocoa seedlings is part of the Ministry’s intervention to reduce the effect of COVID-19 pandemic on agricultural production in Nigeria and avert food scarcity in 2021.
“Through this effort and other complementary interventions by different stakeholders, the government hopes to increase the resilience of farmers and the national food systems in general.
“The Ministry is supporting kenaf farmers through the Kenaf Producers, Processors and Marketers Association (KEPPMAN) with 19,672 kg kenaf foundation seeds.
“The yam farmers through their national association and other cooperative groups are also being supported with about 12 MT of foundation seed for the production of certified seeds.
“The Ministry is also distributing over 18,000kg of organic insecticide to combat armyworm infestation in maize. We are also distributing 66,000 cocoa seedlings to farmers nationwide. These seeds are being given to farmers free of charge while other inputs are given at 75 per cent subsidy.
“This is the third in the series of the distribution of the Ministry’s palliative incentive to farmers nationwide with Kogi State as the next port of call. He also appreciated the robust cooperation and support received from Development Partners in the fight against the effect of the COVID-19 Pandemic on our food security.”
According to the Minister input distributed at least targets 35 per cent of the inputs at women farmers in line with the targets set in the Ministry’s National Gender Plan and Policies aimed at ensuring increased opportunities for women. This has been communicated to the farmer associations.
He further stated that the Ministry and its research institutions are working towards making Nigeria self-sufficient in good quality seeds and its availability to farmers as a foundation for attaining food and nutrition security as well as industrialization.
Therefore emphasized that the Ministry is supporting breeder and foundation seeds production and linking up with the private seed companies to make certified seeds available to farmers, which coupled with Ministry’s efforts to improve rural infrastructure and other value-chains supports would invariably contribute to the attainment of Mr President’s desire to ensure easy access to quality food and nutrition by Nigerians.
Meanwhile, the Executive Governor of Oyo State, Engr Oluseyi Makinde, who was represented by the Secretary of the State Government, Mrs Olubamiwo Adeosun, appreciated the Federal Government for being proactive toward ensuring that Nigeria averts food crisis in 2021.
He also acknowledged that modernizing business, strengthening the links between process, production and market are the catalysts to transforming the agricultural space of any country, and Nigeria is not exceptional.
“The countries that have successfully managed their agricultural transformation have incorporated the following processes, modernizing business, strengthening the links between process, production and market.
“They have also adopted innovative and modern technology to ensure a data-driven process that is empirically documented and evidence-driven”, she said.