The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina has said that the federal government would distribute 86, 000mt of assorted seeds to farmers in flood affected areas to recuperate fast in food production and income generation.
Speaking to newsmen in Abuja yesterday, Adesina stated that the ministry has commenced fast-track measures to increase food production through dry season to forestall food shortage following the flood disaster in many states of the country.
Among the various inputs to be distributed are 36,000 litres of herbicides, 22,000 litres of insecticides said to be urgently needed. Adesina said for fertiliser, although a total of 610,000mtn was expected by December, records from the ministry showed that 167,540mt is available.
“The ministry would bear cost of inputs but would require state governments to bear the cost of land preparation. In working with the states on this emergency, we can ask for a special NEC meeting to deal with the issue whereby we talk to them about the desirability of this intervention and will use state platforms, public programmes, regional and state directors and state commissioners, extension value chains and state extension information groups for the implementation of the intervention including monitoring and evaluation, as well as impact assessment would be part of the intervention,” he said.
The minister said that stocks were taken and plans were outlined on how to obtain farm inputs, including certified seeds, fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides needed to aid dry season production and messages have gone to the state directors of the ministry of agriculture to get us the list of farmers affected in various states to ensure early responses and proper targeting. He also said that food items in the strategic grains reserve would be deployed to cushion the effects of food shortage.
Adesina added that for the production, the regional and state office directors of the ministry will be working with the states’ commissioners and directors of agriculture on how to go about the intervention of emergency Growth Enhancement Support (GES) platform. Stressing the urgency, he said the more delays we have, the less successful the interventions will be and therefore announced that where the GSM system is not functioning, we can use the voucher system we don’t want a situation in which seeds and fertilizer are given and they disappear we want a system that we can account for.
“In some states, the dry season intervention will involve a double-up approach. For the double-up approach, also, the regional directors have been directed to register farmers and harness those already registered on the platform of GES forthe purpose of additional food production. For those who have already lost crops to flood, we will use our strategic grains reserve to support. Mr. President has released money to the states they can buy,” he noted