The Federal Government has urged States participating in the second phase of the Dry/Wet Season Farming that will involve the cultivation of rice, maize, and cassava to make available credible farmers’ data and accurate geo-referenced farmlands.
Senator Abubakar Kyari, Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, stated this when the Governor of Kebbi State, Dr. Mohammed Nasir Idris, paid him a courtesy visit at the headquarters of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security in Abuja.
Kyari explained that credible farmers data and accurate geo-referenced farmlands would be critical success factors in the Federal Government’s intervention to “ensure that agro-inputs get to real farmers who have the requisite hectarage to cultivate and are, therefore, not at the mercy of portfolio farmers who hijack agro-inputs and later round-trip to the economic detriment of genuine farmers.”
He noted that there is currently on-going broad-based stakeholders’ review of the implementation so far of the 2023/2024 Wheat Dry Season Farming, under the National Agricultural Growth Scheme Agro-Pocket (NAGS-AP) project.
Recalled that the Federal Government had in November 2023, flagged-off the Wheat Dry Season Farming across 15 States that are in the wheat-producing belt of the country.
The 15 States involved in wheat production are Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Kebbi, Katsina, Niger, Plateau, Sokoto, Taraba, Yobe, and Zamfara.
The minister explained that the flag-off of dry season wheat farming was intended to ensure that “we rely less on rain-fed agricultural production during the Wet Season, and instead have all-year round farming.”
In addition to boosting the volumes of crops cultivated, he said, taking advantage of both Dry and Wet Season Farming would increase job opportunities, reduce poverty, de-escalate food inflation, and enhance inclusivity, which are goals highlighted in President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda.
He therefore, observed that the collective steps “we are taking to boost food production, reduce food inflation, and more assuredly guarantee our national food security, are matters of urgent engagement that require increased inter-governmental interactions.”
Kyari expressed optimism that with adequate readiness, that Kebbi State would benefit from the second phase of the Dry/Wet Season farming that is slated to commence in a couple of weeks, adding that more than two-thirds of the Local Government Areas of Kebbi State are suitable for rice cultivation.
In his remarks, the Governor of Kebbi State, Dr. Mohammed Nasir Idris, described Kebbi as an agrarian State with fertile land to grow rice, wheat, maize, millet and guinea corn.
Idris revealed that the State Government had last year purchased fertilizer worth N2.8billion, which was distributed to farmers in the State free of charge.
He expressed joy that farmers in the State had witnessed bumper harvest as a result of the provision of fertilizer to them.
The Governor said 300 trucks of assorted grains were also purchased by his administration last year, adding that they were distributed to farmers to encourage them to go back to farm.
As part of measures to boost dry season farming, Idris stated that 6,000 solar pumps worth N5billion had been purchased by the State Government, which would be distributed to farmers free of charge by next week.
He therefore, sought partnership with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security to bolster food production, adding that “there is no way we can move forward without addressing the issue of food security.”