The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar has said that the Distribution of Free Agricultural Inputs and Quality Seeds as intervention to Smallholder Farmers would lead to Poverty Reduction, Job Creation, Increase Production as well as achieve Food and Nutrition Security. 

The Minister stated this in an event which took place recently  at the Federal Secretariat Complex, Kano Road, Katsina, Katsina State featured distribution of equipment such as 1 ton of certified seeds of groundnut,  maize; 1,200 litres of different organic growth enhancers, 2000 litres of cypermethrine, 4800 litres of relisate , glyphosate; 1,600 litres of landacylothrine, 150 pasta machines, 7 units of corn harvester, 8 units of hammer mill with cyclone, 700 units of knapsack sprayer, 120 units of water pump among others.

The Minister, was represented by the Deputy Director, Tree and Crops Division, Mr. Bernard Ukattah, revealed that 35% of the inputs were targeted at women farmers and processors in line with the targets set in the National Gender Plan and Policies aimed at ensuring increased opportunities for women.  “Similarly, 10% is targeted at persons with special needs and this has been communicated to the Farmers’ Associations to act accordingly’’.

He stated that the roll out of agricultural inputs was designed to support programme targeted at smallholder farmers to enhance the farming family’s income, create jobs and generate wealth

Dr. Abubakar stated that ‘’the smallholders are the most vulnerable in times of crisis, it becomes imperative for the Federal Government to support them with the much-needed inputs especially seeds, which is the most important factor that influences farmers’ yield in order to enable them to recover quickly from the set back of the COVID-19 Pandemic and the effect of the insecurity’’.  

He emphasized the continuous commitment of the Ministry to address national and Food security by mapping out strategic policies such as the Agriculture for Food and Jobs Plan (AFJP), the Green Imperative, Agricultural Promotion Policy, NATIP as well as the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative (PFI) among others. 

He added that the Ministry in its effort to support smallholder farmers has distributed different equipment, improved seeds and seedlings of various crops to farmers in Osun, Plateau, Kaduna, Taraba and Edo States.

The Minister 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 farmers ‘’so that together, we can become self- sufficient in food production’.

In his remarks, the Chairman, House Committee on Agricultural Production and Services, Hon. Muntari Dandutse said that the effort of the Federal Government was to ensure the availability of the farm inputs to reach the majority of the farming communities across the State.

According to him, ‘’ it will go a long way in making the commodity available and affordable as well as ensure that the goal of bumper production and self-sustenance is realized’’. 

He urged the stakeholders, traditional rulers, the community leaders at all levels and leaders of persons involved in the criminal activities to dialogue and come up with a concrete solutions that would ensure peace, harmony and prosperity in the state.

Earlier, in his welcome address, the Katsina State Director of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Sule Salisu said that “the present administration has initiated and implemented various interventions in the agricultural sector which no other administration has ever done and has transformed the Nigerian agriculture to a business venture, urging the beneficiaries to make use of the intervention judiciously “.

In his Goodwill Message, the Chairman, All Farmers Association of Nigeria Katsina State Chapter, Alhaji Yau Umar Gojogojo represented by Alhaji Mohammed Musa thanked the Hon. Minister for his commitment and support for Smallholder Farmers across the State.

One of the beneficiaries, Haija Binta Dahiru thanked the Ministry for the free Agricultural Inputs and pledged to make judicious use of the Inputs. 

Highlight of the occasion was the symbolic distribution of Agricultural Inputs and Quality seeds as Intervention to One Thousand, Five Hundred Smallholder Farmers by the Representative of the Hon. Minister, Mr. Bernard Ukattah and Chairman, House Committee on Agricultural Production and Services, Hon. Muntari Dandutse.

Mohammed Abdullahi Gana 

Information Officer II

For: Director, Information (FMARD)