By Ruth Tene Natsa, Abuja.
As Nigeria joins other counterpart nations to celebrate the World Food Day (WFD), the Federal government has said 6.5million farmers have benefited from 25% input subsidy for fertiliser under the Growth Enhancement Scheme( GES).
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh made the revelation while briefing Newsmen at the 2017 World Food Celebration, Press briefing in Abuja Thursday.
According to Chief Ogbeh” Following the implementation of the Green Alternative Policy,the Ministry under our watch have Provided 25% input subsidy contributions to 6.5 million farmers under the Growth Enhancement Support Scheme for private managed fertiliser supply for wet and dry season farming across the various commodity value chains.
He added that we have ” facilitated foundation and certified seed production for staple crops, keyed into the Anchor Borrowers scheme involving the CBN, NIRSAL, FMARD, State Governments, miller’s and others to facilitate a link between farmers and processors”
Chief Ogbeh also said the Ministry had ” Strengthened aflotaxin detection capacity with the purchase of a set of laboratory equipment,developed a soil fertility map and site crops specific fertiliser formulation for the 36 states and FCT to aid appropriate aid crop production and maximise yield in every locality”
He added that “the establishment of national aquaculture certification centre, distributed over 200 smoking kilns to selected fish markers and secured 55,000 hectares from 11 states as part of the 5000 hectares each expected from the 19 Northern states for the development of pasture/ paddocks grazing reserve”
Chief Ogbeh assured that in an effort to ensure self sufficiency in rice production the Ministry flagged off the distribution of 500 threshers to rice farmers from 12 rice producing states including Ebonyi, Enugu, Katsina, Sokoto, Kebbi, Jigawa, kano, Kaduna, Niger, Kogi, Benue and Taraba at 60% discount to farmers who would pay 20% while state governments bare 20% of the cost”
” In a bid to drive agriculture as a business,the Ministry had fast tracked the implementation of the 18 Nos Agro industrial estates,9 Nos farmers markets and 80nos. One stop shop input center projects located across the 6 geopolitical zones” he further added.
Speaking earlier, United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation (UN/FAO) Country Representative, Mr Suffyan Koroma said the “WFD is a chance to showcase development to achieving SDGS Goal 2 to achieving Zero hunger by 2030 by promoting worldwide awareness and action for those who suffer hunger and for the need to ensure food security and nutritious diet for the world”
He noted that “This year’s WFD with the theme Change the future of migration: Invest in Agriculture and Rural Development’’ is highly relevant as we have 65million people worldwide who were forcefully displaced from their homes by conflicts, violence and prosecution in 2015″
The Country Rep. noted that the increasing number of conflicts their complexity ,their protective nature rural development and food insecurity, weak employment and income generating opportunities, inequality, limited access to social protection, the accelerated environmental degradation and increasing impact of climate change would result in a growing number of people forcibly displaced or migrating under distress than ever”
He urged that on this WFD 2017, “We shall all reinforce our beliefs that the right to food is a basic human right and achieving the 17 SDGs cannot happen without ending hunger and without sustainable and resilient climate compatible agriculture and food systems that delivers for the people and the planet”
Koroma said “We need to stand together in solidarity against acts of discrimination and call on leaders to make migrations safe, orderly and regular”.