Again, FG distributes Free Agricultural Inputs to Farmers in Kogi
The Minister of Agricultural and Rural Development, Alhaji Muhammad Sabo Nanono has reaffirmed the Federal  Government’s  commitment to support Nigerian Farmers with agricultural inputs to enhance food production, create employment and enable farmers to recover quickly from sudden shocks of the COVID -19 Pandemic as well as sustain food supply in  2021.
The  Minister said the initiative would ensure more sustainable and resilient food system in Nigeria.
Speaking during the flag – off ceremony at the Ministry’s Warehouse at Okene road, Lokoja in Kogi State today 2/07/2020, Alhaji Muhammad Nanono stated that distribution of agricultural free inputs to smallholder farmers which include different categories of seeds of cashew, sesame, soybeans and tomatoes as part of the Ministry’s measures to mitigate the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on agricultural production in the country.
The Minister noted that ‘’ the decision of the Ministry to support the smallholder farmers with various inputs especially improved seeds of some priority crops namely; cashew, sesame, soybeans and potatoes through farmer associations, women and youth groups and cooperatives nationwide  is to avert food scarcity  in  the country  as a result of the COVID – 19 pandemic’’.
Nanono also pointed out that ‘’ the Ministry is supporting smallholder farmers through their various associations and cooperatives with the following farm inputs: 38,142KG of improved cashew seeds for distribution to 3,798 of cashew farmers across the country for the 2020 cropping season’’.
He also said that ‘’ twenty seven thousand (27,000kg) of certified sesame seeds for distribution to 5,400 sesame farmers, fifty thousand (50,000kg) of soybeans seeds for distribution to soybeans farmers and 12,000 bundles of Orange Fleshed Sweet Potato (OFSP) for 1,200 farmers, 15,000 sachets of redforce, 3,000 sachets of glory crop protection, 580 litres of soil amender and 500 litres of organic fertilizer to potato farmers’’.
He stated that ‘’ the Ministry takes the issue of food security and health of the population seriously. These seeds are being given to the beneficiaries free of charge while other inputs are given at 75% subsidy’’.
He stressed that ‘’ in our input distribution efforts, at least 35% of the inputs are targeted at women  and youth Farmers in line with the targets set in our National Gender Action Plan for Agriculture and Policies aimed at ensuring increased opportunities for women. This has been communicated to the Farmer Associations accordingly’’.
Nanono informed that ‘’ this is the 4th in the series of distributions of the Ministry’s palliatives to farmers nationwide. During the 1st flag off in Kano, the Ministry in collaboration with our development partners led by International Crops Research Institute  for Semi –Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), distributed certified seeds of sorghum, millet, cowpea and rice to 8,200 farmers in 13 states of the Federation’’.
He added that ‘’ during the 2nd flag-off in Kaduna on 8th June 2020, the Ministry supported rice farmers with twenty-seven thousand (27,000kg) and three hundred thousand (300,000kg) each of certified seeds of FARO 66 & three hundred thousand (300,000kg) of Foundation Seeds of flood tolerant rice varieties of FARO 66 & FARO 67 respectively’’
The Minister further said that ‘’ twenty (20) metric tons of Breeder Seeds of the same varieties were given to 14 selected seed Companies to produce foundation seeds. Twenty-six thousand 26,000kg of certified wheat seeds were distributed to wheat farmers, 1,350 maize production kits to maize farmers, 18,517KG of Aflasafe and 300,000 sprouted nuts of oil palm to farmers in Kogi, Nasarawa and Kaduna States’’.
He stated that ‘’ the 3rd exercise conducted in Ibadan on 24th June, 2020, the Ministry supported Kenaf farmers through the Kenaf Producers, Processors & Marketers Association (KEPPMAN) with 19,672kg Kenaf Foundation Seeds, Yam Farmers through their national association and other cooperative groups were supported with twelve thousand (12,000kg) of Foundation Seeds for production of Certified Seeds. The Ministry also distributed over 18,000kg of organic insecticides to farmers to combat Fall Army Worms infestation in Maize’’.
In his remarks, the Executive Governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, represented by the Deputy Governor,  Chief Edward Onoja thanked the President Muhammadu Buhari for the diversification of THE economy of the country with robust Agricultural policies, which would ensure food security and increase revenue of the nation.
In her vote of thanks, Director, Federal Department of Agriculture, Mrs. Karima Babangida, appreciated the Kogi State Government and other Relevant Stakeholders for their collaboration with the polices of the Ministry in mitigation  of the effects of COVID – 19 Pandemic in Nigeria.
Ezeaja Ikemefuna
For: Director, Information (FMARD)