The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) Wednesday distributed farm inputs to 150 rice farmers in Oyo State.
The inputs included bags of certified rice seeds, fertilizers, herbicides and insecticides.
Speaking at the distribution in Ibadan, a Director in the ministry, Abuja, Mrs Karima Babangida, said the items were part of the Federal Government’s COVID-19 palliative for farmers.
Babangida, represented by a Senior Agricultural Officer in the ministry, Mr Dauda Ayeleke, said the programme was organised in collaboration with the Japan International Cooperation Agency.
She said the distribution was the second phase this year, adding that it first took place in February.
She said the exercise was going on simultaneously in 10 states of the federation for the rice wet planting sesson.
According to her, the states include Oyo, Ekiti, Ebonyi, Sokoto, Katsina, Edo and Ogun.
Babangida said Oyo was chosen based on the ministry’s track record of rice production in Nigeria.
She said, “Today, each farmer will receive 150kg of certified rice seed, four bags of NPK fertilizer, two bags of urea fertilizer, five litres of herbicides, four litres of insecticides and one litre of organic soil amender.”
She said the programme was designed to support farmers, increase rice production and obtain the desired national food security.
Babangida said that government supported farmers with inputs, harvesting and processing equipment and partnered many donor agencies to improve food production.
She charged the beneficiaries to make judicious use of the inputs to improve their livelihood and achieve the purpose of the programme.
“The state ministry will monitor your production. There should not be any record of selling the input because any report of such will lead to prosecution,” she said.
Also, the state FMARD Coordinator, Dr Florence Kakulu, underscored the importance of farmers to grow the food that would be sufficient for the populace.
“The essence of this programme is for us to grow what we eat and eat what we grow,” she said.
The South-West Vice President of Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria, Mr Victor Korede, expressed profound gratitude to the federal government for the gesture.
Korede gave assurance that the beneficiaries would improve their production with the opportunity provided to them through the input distribution.
“A nation that cannot feed itself is a slave to other nations.
“We pray that the Lord will help us as the rain has started, as we have started well with this, we shall also end well with bumper harvest,” he said.