From Esther Akaa, Lafia
Over 200 dry season rice farmers in Nasarawa State have benefited from the Federal Government agricultural farm inputs programme.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Mohammed Sabo Nanono made this known recently, at the launching of fertiliser sales and distribution of farm inputs to farmers for the 2021 dry season farming, held at Nasarawa State Agricultural Development Programme (NADP) office in Lafia.
Alhaji Nanono, represented by Director, Department of Federal Agriculture, Hajiya Karima Babangida, said 200 bags of certified rice seed, 100 litres of insecticide, 1200 bags of NPK and urea fertilisers, as well as 800 litres of soil amenders were to be distributed to the rice farmers in the state.
He said the initiative was part of the Federal Government’s sustained effort, towards harnessing the agriculture sector for economic growth, adding that the intervention was a deliberate effort, aimed at checking food scarcity during the COVID-19 pandemic. “The food production system in Nigeria is facing challenges caused by the effects of climate change which include flood, disaster and the on-going COVID-19 pandemic.
“The ministry has over the years been responding to the challenges of food availability by providing farmers with various farm inputs, including certified seeds, varieties of food crops such as rich, maize, sorghum, wheat, potatoes, among others,” while the minister urged the beneficiaries of the inputs to make judicious use of it in order to increase food production in the state.
In his remarks, Governor Abdullahi Sule, noted that the state government would continue to take advantage of the rich agricultural endowment in the state to strengthen collaboration with agro allied private sectors to reduce unemployment.
“It would be recalled that, since inception of our administration, we have made a solemn pledge to improve the agricultural sector for socio-economic development. It is for this reason that we have continued to give agriculture a pride of place, being the major occupation of about 80% of the Nasarawa State population. “This is intended to improve the livelihood of the people, ensure optimum employment of labour force, as well as achieving sustainable food security in the state,” he said.
He urged the coordinators at various levels to ensure remittance of sales to the designated bank account, as any misappropriation will be met with appropriate sanction.
On his part, the State Chairman, All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Mr Samuel Meshi commended the federal government for the farm inputs and stressed the need for adequate security, especially in the rural areas, to allow farming activities to thrive in the state.
Earlier, the state Commissioner of Agriculture and Water Resources, Prof. Alanana Otaki, appreciated the federal government for the gesture. Prof Otaki stated that the state on its part, has procured 38 trailers of NPK fertilisers for the 13 local government and 18 development areas in the state. “We are subsidising for N5000 per bag and the money will go back to the treasury,” he said.