The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has said that the N13 billion intervention fund for pest control approved by the Federal Government does not only cover pest control spraying.
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Muhammed Sabo Nanono, in an interview over the weekend explained that the fund also covers the fight against transboundary diseases such as the foot and mouth diseases that affect cattle, sheep, donkeys and goats.
Speaking over the weekend, however, Nanono noted that the fund will also be used for addressing challenging conditions affecting poultry farming as well as rice and maize production.
In addition to rehabilitating abattoirs in the country, viral disease, rabies, commonly found in dogs will also be tackled using the fund, the minister said.
On aerial chemical spraying to control quelea birds and grasshoppers, the FMARD boss observed that the exercise had already been completed in Borno, Taraba and Yobe States.
“The exercise commences this week in Kebbi, Sokoto and Zamfara States,” he added.
Reacting to reported complaints among farmers in Sokoto and Zamfara States about the spraying exercise not reaching regular farmers, Nanono said the new measures put in place by the ministry will ensure that such exercises reach the common farmer in the rural areas.
Nanono while announcing the credit facility had said that about 2.4 million farmers would benefit from the fund to improve their application of modern technologies in rice and cash crop cultivation.
Speaking on the interest-free loan over the weekend, the minister noted that about five million people have been registered via GPS to verify their genuineness.
“Of the five million registered farmers, 1.3 million have since been shortlisted for immediate disbursement of the loans,” he further pointed out.
On hike in the price of local rice, the minister explained that COVID-19 has made transportation of goods and services almost impossible, leading to panic buying not to hoard but safeguard against shortage.
Rice consumers in Nigeria are also increasing by leaps and bounds because the grain is easy to use as a staple food, he added.
Nanono, however, believes that “there is every likelihood that we [Nigeria] shall witness a bumper harvest of rice and maize.”
The minister urged Nigerians to exercise patience and embrace farming to make the country’s dream of self-sufficiency in food production a reality.