The Federal Government says it will soon commence the distribution of agricultural inputs to Nigerian farmers for the 2021 Wet Season farming.

Theodore Ogaziechi, Director of Information, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, announced this on Thursday while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.

Mr Ogaziechi said the distribution was to enhance production of food and balanced nutrition, create more jobs, and boost wet season farming.

“Government has commenced activities to encourage farmers with the roll-out of free inputs distribution to 7,500 small scale women farmers from the North-central states and the Federal Capital Territory,” he said.

Mr Ogaziechi said the Ministry had performed similar exercises in Kaduna, Oyo, Kogi, Cross River, Imo, Kebbi, Jigawa, Gombe and Borno States by assisting smallholders farmers with quality inputs.

He disclosed that the Federal Government had foreclosed the 2020 roll out of inputs distribution to farmers, saying ”hopefully, we will commence the 2021 inputs distribution soonest”.

“The Federal Government is also disbursing inputs at a subsidised rate in order to encourage farmers and increase production,” Mr Ogaziechi said.

He said that during the pandemic, the Federal Government through the Ministry of Agriculture had given out subsidised 5,000 metric tonnes of maize in support of poultry farmers.

Mr Ogaziechi explained that President Muhammadu Buhari had approved the release of the maize from the National Strategic Grains Reserve to support the Poultry Association of Nigeria.

He said it was at a subsidised rate of N90,000 per metric tonne as against the market price of N170,000 then.

Mr Ogaziechi said that release was also part of the general release of the Presidential 70,000 metric tonnes of assorted grains palliative to vulnerable Nigerians.

He said the Minister of Agriculture, Muhammad Nanono, also allocated 12,500 metric tonnes of food ration to the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Farouq, for victims of disasters.

Mr Ogaziechi said the 12,500 tonnes were from the Minna silos in Niger State which was also part of the National Strategic Food Reserve.

He said the ministry also simultaneously released the rest of the assorted food items as directed by President Buhari from its silos in Gusau; Zamfara, Dutsin Ma; Katsina State, Yola; Adamawa, Lafia; Nassarawa and Ilesha; Osun.

Mr Ogaziechi said that the Federal Government had a lot of agricultural inputs in its warehouses waiting for farmers to buy at subsidised rates.

He said that government ”was mindful of, and took serious consideration on food security by stacking up food in the silos”.

Mr Ogaziechi said government had 33 silos complexes nationwide with 19 under concession out of the 33, adding that government still had 14 silos under its management.

He said concessioning was aimed at bringing in the private sector and increasing capacity utilisation of the silo complexes for the benefit of the farmers in particular and the nation in general.

“It should be stressed that the final handing – over of the silos complexes to the concessionaires is only possible when the Transaction Adviser has certified that the concessionaires have met all the conditions necessary.

“This will enable concessionaires carry out the needed repairs and a joint inspection will be carried out at the end of the repairs with the staff of Agriculture Ministry.

“This will also ascertain the readiness of the concessionaires to start full operation and thus determine the effective date of the transaction,” Mr Ogaziechi said.

He also said that the government provided relief materials to flood victims and farmers in Kebbi and other states in the North-west by ensuring they received improved seeds to restart planting as soon as the water receded. (NAN)

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