The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Mohammad Abubakar has commenced the distribution of agricultural inputs and quality seeds to encourage smallholders farmers in Plateau and Osun states.
The gesture, according to the Minister would help stimulate local production of food to achieve self-sufficiency, all season farming, attract investments, create jobs and enhance the livelihood of farming families in the benefiting states.
Also, the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Dr. Ernest Umakhihe distributed inputs for dry season farming to smallholder farmers in Osogbo, Osun State. The items include 3,000 oil palm seedlings, 1500kg cashew seeds; 20,000 certified seed yams, as well as 200 litres of pathway organic growth enhancers. Others are 4,000 bundles of orange-fleshed sweet potatoes; 3,000 bundles of cassava stems, as well as various agricultural equipment and biochemical.
During the exercise in Jos, Plateau State, the minister said the gesture was meant to cushion the effect of the pandemic, adding that “the ministry designed a support programme targeting smallholder farmers to enable them get back to the farms and continue production to sustainably rebuild their production activities and their means of livelihood. This is to enhance farming family income, create jobs and generate wealth.”
He said among the numerous initiatives being implemented by the ministry and the farmers will be supported with inputs seeds, growth enhancers, seedlings, sprayers and other equipment, among others, noting that 35 per cent of the items will go to Women Cooperative groups, 15 per cent to people with special needs, while 50 per cent will go to farmers’ associations in various production clusters.
In his remarks, the Governor of the state, Simon Lalong, who appreciated the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration for the flag-off exercise, said it would cushion the effect of the COVID–19 pandemic, promote dry season farming, boost production and generate income for the farmers and the state at large.
Governor Lalong said: “As a government, we have done so much in addressing the problems of farmers/herder conflicts, as well as guaranteeing the safety of our farmers. Plateau State is among few states, which is in the process of implementing modern ranching, which is encapsulated in the National Livestock Transformation Program (NLTP). We have sent a draft bill to the House of Assembly, which is receiving the desired attention and will hopefully be passed soon.”
He disclosed “the Yakubu Gowon Airport has been designated as an international cargo airport, to export exotic farm products, such as vegetables, flowers, rice, maize, potato and yam, which are unique and peculiar to the state’s weather.
The inputs distributed include 99 bags of yam seeds, 100 bags of Samnut, 100 bags of cowpea seeds, 80 bags of Samaz seeds, 80 bags of potato seeds, 20 bags of cashew nuts, 100 bags of maize seeds and 1,310 oil palm seedlings.
The equipment include 100 pineapple peelers, 46 weeders, 27 potato juicer machine, 199 Knapack sprayers, 20 bag closer, 83 3” water Pump, 23 solar water pump, 20 grinding machine, and 44 potato row planter. Chemicals distributed are 400 liters of FOG (Liquid Fertilizer) and 5,000 litres of Relisate (Glyphosate), among others.