The Federal Government has called for increased partnership with the government and other critical stakeholders to tackle the impacts of the novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic on Nigeria’s food security.
Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Mustapha Baba Shehuri, made the call on Wednesday in Ibadan, Oyo State during a ceremony to flag-off the distribution of agricultural inputs to Nigerian farmers.
Shehuri noted that the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) was supporting breeder and foundation seeds production through a partnership with private seed companies to make certified seeds available to farmers for improved yield.
The junior minister noted that ministry through the exercise and other complementary interventions seek to increase the resilience of farmers and the national food systems in general.
Shehuri noted that the ministry was distributing over 18,000kg of organic insecticide to combat armyworm infestation in maize.
While FMARD is distributing 66,000 cocoa seedlings to farmers nationwide free of charge, other inputs are being given at 75% subsidy, he further disclosed.
Shehuri said, “In our input distribution efforts, at least 35% of the inputs are targeted at women farmers in line with the targets set in our National Gender Plan and Policies aimed at ensuring increased opportunities for women.
“Since smallholders are the most vulnerable, it has 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.”
On inputs given out to farmers, Shehuri also noted that the ministry was supporting kenaf farmers through the Kenaf Producers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria (KEPPMAN) with 19,672 kg of kenaf foundation seeds.
He added that yam farmers through their national association and cooperative groups have been supported with about 12 metric tons of foundation seed for the production of certified seeds.
Shehuri also called for synergy between the ministry, federal government, state governments and critical stakeholders in the country.
He noted that synergy was needed to address the problems of food security, economic growth, job creation and prevent food scarcity in the country.
The junior minister also hailed President Muhammadu Buhari for his bold initiative in the rice sub-sector.
In his remarks, Governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde noted that Nigeria has successfully managed her agricultural transformation.
Makinde, who was represented by the Secretary of the State Government, Mrs Olubamiwo Adeosun, also listed modernisation of agribusinesses, strengthening of the links between processing, production and the market, etc. as some key strategies to transform the sector.
Makinde also praised Buhari for being proactive toward ensuring that Nigeria was strongly positioned against averting a food scarcity in 2021.
Also in attendance, FMARD Director of the Federal Department of Agriculture, Hajia Karima Babaginda, who represented the Permanent Secretary of FMARD, Dr Abdulkadir Mu’azu.
Oyo State Commissioner of Agriculture and Rural Development, Ojekunle Ojemuyiwa, also graced the occasion.