FCTA Launches 2023 Farming Season: Assorted Agricultural Inputs Delivered to Farmers
By Laide Akinboade, ABUJA
The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) witnessed the commencement of the highly anticipated 2023 farming season as Dr. Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, the Minister of State for FCT, distributed a range of agricultural inputs to farmers in Abuja.
This momentous event holds significant importance, coinciding with the beginning of the farming season in the FCT.It also marks the commendable achievements of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, which has prioritized agriculture as a crucial aspect of revitalizing the Nigerian economy.
During the official flag-off ceremony in Abuja, Dr. Aliyu emphasized the integral role of agricultural development programs in the FCT Administration’s agenda.She noted, “Back in 2019, the FCT last witnessed such an event. Unfortunately, due to the End SARS protest, which resulted in the theft of procured inputs meant for distribution to farmers, the event couldn’t be organized in 2022. However, our dedicated efforts over the past year have led to a complete overhaul of warehouses and increased capacity to store numerous inputs.”
Significant progress has been made, with the allocation for agricultural inputs procurement skyrocketing from N200 million in 2021 to a whopping N2 billion in the 2023 budget. This generous funding has been utilized to obtain fertilizers, irrigation equipment, mechanized farm implements, agrochemicals, and improved seedlings.
Moreover, a total of 970 metric tons of NPK, 750 metric tons of Urea, and 6,000 liters of liquid fertilizers have been acquired. These products will be sold to farmers at subsidized rates of 50%, approved by the FCT Administration.
To ensure efficient distribution of inputs to targeted farmers, Dr. Aliyu has instructed the Agriculture & Rural Development Secretariat to expand the scope of the Fertilizer Distribution Committee. Their primary focus is on reaching cooperative societies, area council authorities, 17 chiefdoms, SWOFON (Women Farmers), Sarkin Noma’s in the 62 wards of FCT, vulnerable groups, and individual farmers.
It is worth noting that the procured inputs are not solely intended for crop farming; a significant portion of the funds has been allocated to the fisheries, livestock, veterinary, and forestry development sectors.
Dr. Aliyu further emphasized the importance of Good Agronomic Practices (GAP) alongside agricultural inputs. The Administration has consistently invested in knowledge acquisition by organizing programs to introduce farmers to more efficient innovations.
During the ceremony, Mr. Olusade Adesola, the Permanent Secretary of FCTA, addressed the pressing global issues of food crisis, population growth, conflicts, and climate change. He stressed the strategic significance of the annual provision of inputs to farmers in strengthening food production systems, urging continued support and funding for the sector.
Mallam Abubakar Ibrahim, the Secretary of the Agriculture & Rural Development Secretariat, expressed optimism about the impact of the support provided to farmers. With the substantial quantity of inputs procured for distribution, the FCT anticipates a bumper harvest, projecting a potential improvement of up to 30% in the food insecurity situation within the Federal Capital Territory.
Allocation letters were distributed to some beneficiaries during the event, enabling them to collect their inputs on-site. Other farmers will need to present valid allocation letters with evidence of payment to redeem their products from designated warehouses located in Gwagwalada, Tungan-Maje, Gwagwa, Kwali, Karshi, Abaji, and Kwali.
Kwara Govt Flags-off Distribution of Farm Inputs
The Kwara Government has flagged-off the distribution of farm inputs to farmers for this year’s raining season farming.
The state Deputy Governor, Mr Kayode Alabi, distributed the inputs at the Ministry of Agriculture Headquarters in Ilorin.
The event was attended by top government functionaries, representatives of the Minister of Agriculture and Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), as well as members of the state House of Assembly, among other participants.
Kayode said the intervention became necessary due to the flood disaster that occurred last year, which resulted in the loss of livelihood of farmers in parts of the country.
“Agriculture remains the major source of food, poverty alleviation and source of raw materials for our local industries.
“However, the flood disaster that occurred in some parts of the state last year has resulted in unprecedented food crisis, increased poverty, high inflation, malnutrition and high level of unemployment.
“To solve this problem requires interventions from all levels of government including international humanitarian actors,” said the deputy governor.
Alabi explained that the state government was concerned with the challenges posed by these threat to the state socio-economic development and food security.
He however assured that the present administration remained committed to improving the standard of living of the populace through various impactful intervention programmes and projects.
Earlier, the state Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Malam AbdulLateef Alakawa, appreciated Gov. AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq for providing enabling environment for the agricultural sector.
Alakawa specifically noted the prompt payment of the state counterpart funds for Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zone (SAPZ), Livestock Productivity and Resilient Support Project (L-PRES), and the FADAMA NG CARES Project.
“The ultimate aim of these intervention programmes is to improve food security, reduce poverty and create job opportunities in the state and the country at large,” he said.
The representative of the Minister of Agriculture, Dr Godwin Oyigoga, disclosed that the distribution exercise was as a result of a report by Cadre Harmonise (CH), under the National Programme for Food Security (NPFS), which had earlier predicted the possibility of food crisis across the states of the federation; and the need to support farmers to avert the prediction.
Oyigoga, who is also the Head of Community Driven Development (CDD), NPFS Office, Abuja, commended the Kwara government collaboration and foresight towards ensuring food security in the country.
He however appealed to the state government for more financial support to Kwara Agricultural Development Project (KADP) Office and Cadre Harmonise for an improved service delivery.
In her welcome address, the Managing Director, Kwara ADP, Dr Khadijat Ahmed, appreciated both the federal and state governments for their support in delivering the agency’s mandate.
She promised that the agency would ensure that the beneficiaries of the agricultural inputs used it for the intended purpose. (NAN)
Agriculture: Consortium Launches Climate Change Research Challenge in Nigeria
From Alfred Babs, Ilorin
A consortium, The Sustainable Africa Initiative (SAI) has launched a Climate Risk Research Challenge in Nigeria, with focus on the Agriculture Sector and Nigerian student researchers.
The initiative, led by Climate Risk Research Foundation; Sustainable Solutions for Green Growth; The Linux Foundation’s OS-Climate; and Green Energy Mission Africa, is aimed at creating awareness about climate change and its impact on agriculture in Nigeria.
According to a statement made available to Daily Asset correspondent in Ilorin on Thursday, the initiative which will cut across all six geopolitical zones in Nigeria, kicked off in the South Western part of the country with separate outreaches at the Department of Agricultural Extension and Rural Development, University of Ibadan and College of Agriculture at Lagos State University of Science and Technology respectively.
Founder and Executive Director of Sustainable Solutions for Green Growth, Azeez Abubakar, who doubles as one of the Lead Consortium members, said that the SAI was committed to creating a sustainable future for Africa, with a focus on climate change and its impact on agriculture.
Abubakar said that the Climate Risk Research Challenge – Nigeria 2023 is open to Nigerian student researchers in relevant fields.
“Nine universities across the six geopolitical zones of the country are expected to participate in the challenge.
“Participants stand a chance to win cash prizes of up to $10,000, attend training courses, and engage with experts from across the globe.
“The challenge will also provide opportunities for students to learn about new and innovative approaches to climate research and develop their skills in the field.
“The initiative aims to empower student researchers in Nigeria to find sustainable solutions for the challenges facing the agriculture sector.
“We believe that the Climate Risk Research Challenge will play a vital role in raising awareness about climate change and its impact on agriculture in Nigeria.
“By empowering student researchers to tackle climate change head-on, we hope to drive sustainable development and create a brighter future for Nigeria”, Abubakar said.
Another Lead Consortium member, Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Green Energy Mission Africa, Abubakar Shuiabu,
said that SAI was proud to support research into climate change and its impact on agriculture in Nigeria.
Shuaibu said that the research had the potential to drive sustainable development and transform the agriculture sector in Nigeria.
“As part of our commitment to building a sustainable future for Africa, we are also committed to supporting training and mentorship opportunities for student researchers.
“Through our network of experts, we will offer participants in the Climate Risk Research Challenge access to valuable resources, including training courses, community resources, and mentorship opportunities.
“The SAI will like to encourage all Nigerian student researchers not just in the agriculture field but in other fields such as environmental science, computer science, Geographic Information system, data science and other relevant fields to participate in the Climate Risk Research Challenge.
“We believe that this is an excellent opportunity to make a positive difference and contribute to building a sustainable future for Nigeria”, Shuaibu said.
Shuaibu gave the website for more information about the Climate Risk Research Challenge or the Sustainable Africa Initiative, as https://sustainableafricainitiative.org
The Lead Professors at the separate events, Prof. Adegbenga Adekoya and Prof. Ayodeji Salami said that the challenge would help students build capacity to solve climate challenges in their communities.
They said that there was need to engage other fields in the university to co-develop risk and resilience models while the challenge will go a long way in improving student participation in climate research.
They said that there was need to train and mentor students, equipping them with the necessary skills and knowledge to tackle climate change in Nigeria.
Among those present at the events were the Lead Professors from the University of Ibadan and Lagos State University of Science and Technology respectively, Prof. Adegbenga Adekoya, and Prof. Ayodeji Salami, The Dean, College of Agriculture Lagos State University of Science and Technology, Dr. Oludare Adenubi, universities members of staff, students amongst others.
Food Security: Gombe Govt Launches Agric Extension Clinic for Farmers
The Gombe State government says it has began provision of extension services to farmers to boost food security and improve their incomes.
Dr Joseph Hussaini, Director, Technical Services, Gombe State Agricultural Development Programme (GADP), disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Gombe on Wednesday.
Hussaini said the gesture was borne out of the need to ensure that farmers in the state were given the right information on best agronomic practices to improve their yields and get good returns on their investments.
He said if farmers continued to use their traditional approach of farming to attain food sufficiency, they would not get the best from the vocation.
The director said extension services were a critical aspect of modern-day agriculture, hence the state ADP’s resolved to strengthen extension service provision in all its offices in the state.
“Ahead of the wet season for this year, we have opened what we call extension clinics where we empower farmers with the required information to help them boost their yield and escape poverty.
“This we do yearly and we are enhancing the knowledge of farmers before every planting season to make sure they don’t make losses as they engage in the vocation of farming.
“Anyone who needs knowledge on Good Agronomic Practices (GAPs), we render them our services free of charge in the interest of food security and welfare of farmers,” he said.
According to him, the administration of Gov. Inuwa Yahaya of Gombe State has prioritised agricultural sector and has been providing funds for agriculture researches to get better ways of improving the sector.
He said the outcomes of those researches had been documented and formed part of the extension services being offered to farmers across the state.
Hussaini said some of the extension services being provided to farmers include knowledge on the right seeds, how to boost soil health, rainfall regime, fertilisers application, how to tackle diseases and others.
He appealed to youths and other farmers in the state to leverage on the opportunity provided by the ADP to get the right knowledge before embarking on any farming activities.(NAN)
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