The Federal Government, in collaboration with International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), has commenced the distribution of farm inputs to 5,000 farmers in Niger.
Alhaji Aliyu Abdulahi, Niger Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, made this known in Bida, Bida Local Government Area, on Saturday, while launching the distribution of inputs to farmers in the area.
The commissioner, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Alhaji Mohammadu Danlami, said that the inputs were distributed under FG/IFAD Value Chain Development (VCD) programme on rice and cassava.
Abdulahi said that the beneficiaries were rice and cassava farmers from Bida, Katcha, Wushishi, Kontagora and Shiroro local government areas of the state.
He promised that government would do everything possible to support the farmers in order to foster the fulfilment of the programme in the state.
Abdulahi lauded the farmers for embracing the programme, which was particularly aimed at boosting the cultivation of rice and cassava in the state.
Earlier, Dr Mathew Ahmed, the State Programme Coordinator, said that 500 rice farmers and 500 cassava farmers from each of the state’s local government areas would benefit from the programme.
He said that that each rice farmer would get six 50kg. bags of fertilizers per hectare of farmland, while each cassava farmer would get four 50kg. bags 50kg of NPK fertilizers per hectare of farmland.
He said that the actual cost of fertiliser was N7, 000 per bag, adding, however, that the farmer would pay N3, 900 per bag, while IFAD would pay the remaining balance of N3, 100 per bag.
Ahmed said that IFAD and farmers would share the cost of other farm inputs such as herbicides and improved seeds at the rate of 50 per cent each.
He said that IFAD had also supported the farmers by bankrolling 50 per cent of their land preparation costs.
The coordinator said that the methods of the inputs’ redemption included the e-wallet and mini-Growth Enhancement Scheme (GES).
Also speaking, Alhaji Alfa Bagudu, Chairman, Bida Local Government Council, urged the farmers not to sabotage the programme by diverting the farm inputs.
He advised more citizens to embrace agriculture in order to regenerate the nation’s agricultural sector.
Similarly, Mr Lawal Mohammed, IFAD Agricultural Production Officer in the state, urged the officials of the various farmers groups to be transparent and document their activities.
Besides, Hajiya Aishatu Dabarakotacin, a representative of cassava farmers, pledged that the farmers would utilise the inputs maximally.
She commended IFAD as well as the government at all levels for the programme and prayed for its success.