No fewer than 550 Gombe farmers from five Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the state have benefitted from the Federal Government’s seed palliative, designed to mitigate the impact of the novel COVID-19 pandemic.
Director of Technical Services, Gombe State Agricultural Development Programme (GADP), Joseph Hussaini disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday.
Hussaini revealed that GADP received the seeds in July and promptly distributed them to the beneficiaries.
He said many farmers had already commenced farming activities in the state, hence the speedy distribution.
According to Hussaini, 110 farmers comprising 60 sorghum farmers, 40 millet farmers, and 10 cowpea farmers were selected from each LGA.
The LGAs were Yamaltu-Deba, Nafada, Shongom, Balanga, and Dukku LGAs, Hussaini told NAN .
The Director further stated that 300 bags of 8kg of sorghum, 200 bags of 5kg of millet, and 50 bags of 8kg of cowpea were made available for distribution to the farmers.
The seed palliative was distributed by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) through the International Crops Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), he added.
Hussaini lauded the Federal and State Governments’ efforts to assist the rural farmers in achieving food security.
“It was really a challenge to get genuine seeds and the federal government came to the rescue and this will assist farmers a lot because the seeds are improved seeds, which boost productivity and farmers’ income.
“These seeds are early maturing varieties with 90 to 100 days period as against the ordinary seeds that take between 120 and 150 days to mature.
“This will mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on farmers.”
He, however, stated that a total of 15 bags of sorghum and 10 bags of millet were not expended.
Some farmers had already completed farming and therefore rejected the seeds, he explained.