As part of its empowerment programme, the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) has flagged-off the Roll out/Distribution of Agricultural inputs to Smallholder Farmers in Kaduna State, Handing over the inputs to the farmers, the Minister, Dr. Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar said the gesture open up investment opportunities, create jobs for stakeholders and facilitate increased production as well as food and nutrition security in the state and by extension the country.
The event which took place on Friday at the Ministry’s state office at livestock House, Mando Road, Kaduna, featured distribution of seeds of different crops; certified seed yams, organic growth enhancer ,as well as various agricultural equipment and agro chemicals.
The Minister informed said the Agricultural sector has been the priority of the present Administration to stimulate local production of food aimed at achieving self-sufficiency, attract investments, create job opportunities and enhance the livelihood of farmers.
According to him, “The sector became one of the major contributors to the country’s economy, contributing about 25% to our Gross Domestic Products (GDP),smallholder farmers accounting for about 70% of national food production’’.
Dr. Mohammad Abubakar
said that this was achieved through the implementation of strategic policies such as the Agriculture for Food and Jobs Plan (AFJP), the Green Imperative, Agricultural Promotion Policy, as well as the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative (PFI) among others.
He added that, “The impact of these policies and programmes manifested during the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused a lot of disruptions along the Agricultural Value Chains, leading to global trade disruptions, resulting in heavy economic losses to farmer’s livelihood”.
Dr. Abubakar revealed that 35% of the inputs were targeted at women farmers in line with the objectives set in the National Gender Plan and Policies aimed at ensuring increased opportunities for women; while 15% were targeted at farmers with special needs.
He, therefore, urged the beneficiaries to make judicious use of these inputs to produce food for the nation while calling on other stakeholders to provide similar support to small-holder farmers ‘’so that together we can work and become self-sufficient in food production’’.
Earlier, Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-rufai, represented by the State Commissioner of Agriculture, Alhaji Ibrahim Hossaini appreciated President Buhari’s led government for the flag-off exercise in the state, stating that it would cushion the effect of the COVID – 19 Pandemic, promote all season farming, boost production and generate income for the farmers and the state at large.
The Inputs and quality seeds distributed included; Knapsack Sprayer – 450, Big Maize thresher – 30, Sesame cleaning machine – 8, Mechanical cashew picker – 80,Ginger slicing machine – 18,Hammer mill with cyclone – 8, Acha processing machine – 8, Super Boron Fertilizer – 400 litre, Glyphosate herbicide – 400 litre, Agrizyme – 400 litre, Growtech (growth enhancer) – 1,000 litres, Pineapple Peeler – 1440, Rhizome washing machine – 4,Mini – milling machine – 6, Solar water pump – 15, Spaghetti machine – 230, Corn harvester – 15, Bag closer – 30, Zerofly bags – 4,800,Resilate – 3200, Watering can – 500, Cypermethrin – 1450, Water Pump – 80.
While the quality seeds were; 500 bags of 25kg certified rice seed,300 bags of 20 kg certified maize seed,300 bags of 29 kg certified sorghum seed,300 bags of 20kg certified millet seed / Cowpea seed and 30,000 certified yam seed.