FG Distributes Inputs to Farmers in Cross River
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Muhammad Sabo Nanono Thursday flagged off the distribution of the palliative incentive to farmers in Calabar, Cross River State.
He said the move was part of on going efforts to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 in the agricultural sector across the country adding that the the effort will increase the resilience of farmers and the national food systems in general.
Speaking during the ceremony the minister said:”With COVID-19, the priority of every country in the world is to ensure limited disruption to its food supply chains , noting that a number of countries have banned or drastically reduced food exports to avoid scarcity of food.
“Since smallholder farmers are the most vulnerable, it become imperative for the government to support them with the much-needed inputs especially seeds, which is the most important factor that influences farmers’ yield in order to enable them to recover quickly from the set back of the Pandemic.”
According to him:”The distribution of agricultural inputs to smallholder farmers which includes different categories of cocoa seedlings, improved oil-palm sprouted nuts and cashew seeds is part of the ministry’s interventions to reduce the effect of COVID-19 pandemic on agricultural production in Nigeria and avert food scarcity in 2021.”
He said the ministry and its research institutions are working towards making Nigeria self-sufficient in good quality seed and its availability to farmers as a foundation for attaining food and nutrition security as well as industrialization.
Nanono said:”The Ministry is supporting breeder and foundation seeds production and linking up with the private seed companies to make certified seeds available to farmers.
This coupled with our 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.
“The Ministry will support the oil-palm farmers, with 5,000 improved oil-palm sprouted nuts and 1,500kg improved cashew seed, the cocoa farmers will also be supported with 20,000 cocoa seedlings and agro-chemicals. In addition, Rice farmers will be supported with 1,000 kg of rice seeds.”
He noted that this was the fifth in the series of the distribution of the ministry’s palliative incentive to farmers nationwide following similar interventions in
Lokoja, Kogi State.
He said:”At least 35 per cent of the inputs are targeted at women farmers in line with the targets set in our National Gender Action Plan and Policies aimed at ensuring increased opportunities for women. This has been communicated to the Farmer Associations accordingly”.
He further acknowledged the cooperation and support received from Development Partners like OCP Africa Limited and International Crops Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), in the fight against the effect of the COVID-19 Pandemic on our food security.
By Kolawole Joseph