The Federal Government, as part of the mitigation measures against the effect of COVID-19 pandemic has distributed 10,000 Gum Arabic Seedlings, 15 Metric Tons of rice seed, 2.5 MT groundnut foundation seeds, and equipment such as water pumps, maize threshers among others to smallholders farmers in Gombe State.
The Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Mustapha Baba Shehuri, flagged-off the distribution of the free agricultural inputs and quality seeds at the weekend.
He stated that it is aimed at ensuring food and nutrition security, create more jobs for teaming Nigerian youths and boost dry-season farming.
He noted that the Ministry would also support breeders and foundation seed production while linking up with the private seed companies to ensure that certified seeds are available to local farmers nationwide.
According to a statement by Ezeaja Ikemefuna, Information officer of the ministry, Shehuri stated that improved rural infrastructure and other value chain support would invariably contribute towards ensuring easy access to quality food and nutrition for Nigerians.
He said, “The small holder farmers in the state will receive the following free inputs; 10,000 Gum Arabic Seedlings, 15MT of rice seed, 2.5 MT groundnut foundation seeds, 1,000 KG of Castor seeds, 1,500 KG of cashew nuts as well as Ratkin and Liptol-organic insecticides to combat army worm infestation and equipment like water pumps, maize threshers among others.
”The ministry has supported Gombe state with subsidized inputs with over 350 3HP and 30 7HP irrigation pumps, multipurpose threshers, over 70 Motorized and dual powered sprayers amongst others.
“Under our World Bank assisted nutrition programme, we have provided multiple trainings and homestead farming input packages including tomato, pepper, pawpaw among others in five local government areas in the state as well as irrigation kits designed to improve the household nutrition.”
He noted that the Ministry has performed similar exercise in Kano, Kaduna, Katsina, Kogi, Oyo, Cross River and Imo states, with this being the 8th edition.
He said assisting smallhohders farmers with quality inputs would help to ensure sustainable food security, job creation and revenue generation to grow the nation’s economy.
The Minister explained that at least 35 per cent of the inputs distributed are targeted at the women farmers, in line with the targets of the national gender action plan and policies aimed at ensuring increased opportunities for women.
Speaking further, he said that in order to alleviate the effect of flood on farmers, inputs were distributed to farmers in Jigawa, Kebbi, Nasarawa and Benue state,
‘’So that together we can defeat COVID-19 Pandemic and become self- sufficient in food production,” he added.
The Governor of Gombe State, Alhaji Muhammadu Yahaya in his remark commended the efforts of the ministry, stating that it would cushion the effect of COVID-19 Pandemic, promote dry-season farming, boost production and generate income for the farmers and the state at large.