Representative of the Minister of Agriculture, the Director, Federal Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Engr Garba Abubakar during the distribution of inputs to small farmers in Taraba. Photo; Sani Sulaiman
The federal government under the Special Intervention Support programme has distributed free agricultural inputs to Small Holder Farmers in Taraba State.
At the programme on Thursday in Jalingo, the Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Muhammed Mahmood said having carefully assessed the negative impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the ministry designed a support program targeted at Small Holder to enhance the farming family income, create jobs, and generate wealth.
Represented by the Director, Federal Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Engr Garba Abubakar, the Minister noted that the distribution was part of the ministry’s efforts to intervene in the sufferings of the smallholder farmers occasioned by insecurity and the Covid-19 pandemic on agricultural production in the. Country, as well as to avert food scarcity shortly.
According to him, at least 35% of the inputs were targeted at women farmers which is in line with the targets set in the National Gender Plan and Policy aimed at ensuring increased opportunities for women; while 15% were targeted at farmers with special needs.
The Minister pointed out that before President Buhari’s administration, many Nigerians were doubtful of the capacity of the country to feed itself, this notion, he said fuelled the agitation for greater allocation of foreign exchange to finance food imports ranging from rice, dairy, sugar, and oil among others.
Alhaji Muhammed Mahmood, however, recalled that during the Covid-19 pandemic, the agricultural sector became one of the major contributors to the nation’s economy that is contributing about 25% to the GDP with smallholder farmers accounting for about 79% of national food production.
He said, 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.
Items distributed include seeds, oil palm seedlings, vines of orange flesh sweet potatoes, one node vine cuttings of yam and its seeds, cassava stems as well as different agricultural equipment.
Reporting by Sani Sulaiman; Editibg by Abdullahi Lamino