The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on Wednesday flagged off and Rolled out the distribution of agricultural inputs to smallholders farmers to reduce the effect of COVID-19 pandemic on agricultural production in Nigeria and avert food scarcity in 2021.
At the event which was held at the MOOR Plantation, Apata, Ibadan, the Minister of State for Agriculture & Rural Development, Honorable Mustapha Baba Shehuri said that the distribution is one of the efforts to work hand in hand with the state government to assist in ensuring food security, economic growth and job creation in the face of COVID-19 pandemic.
He further noted that since the smallholders’ farmers are the most vulnerable, it becomes imperative for the Federal Government to support them with the much-needed support inputs which are the most important factors that influence farmers yield in order to enable farmers to recover quickly from the setback occasioned by the pandemic.
In his remarks, Oyo State Governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde, who was ably represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Mrs Olubanwo Adeosun, said that the State Government appreciates the laudable gesture of the Federal Government to support the state farmers at this trying time of the COVID-19 which has had adverse on the vulnerable.
The State Government asked the Federal Government to consider the request for the rehabilitation of several Federal Government roads that link agrarian communities with markets and urban areas.
Makinde urged the Federal Government to cede Ikere Gorge Dam to the state in order to utilize it for development of agribusiness in Nigeria.
In his response, Commissioner for Agriculture, Honourable Jacob Ojemuyiwa, appealed to the beneficiaries of the palliatives to make judicious use of all the items they received efficiently.
On his part, the National President of Cocoa Farmers Association, Comrade Adeola Adegoke, extended his appreciation to President Muhammadu Buhari and Governor Seyi Makinde for extending the kind gesture to the farmers at this critical time and promised to make use of the palliative to increase food production in Nigeria.
The palliatives that were distributed include: 18000kg of organic insecticide to combat armyworm infestation in maize, 66,000 Cocoa seedlings to farmers nationwide, 19, 672kg yam foundation with 12 metrics of foundation seed for the production of certified seeds.
The seeds were distributed to farmers free of charge while other inputs were given at 75 per cent subsidy.