ABUJA- The Federal Government has said smallholder farmers produce over 80 Percent of food consumed in the country.
Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Mustapha Baba Shehuri, said the smallholder farmers operate on little but very significant plots of land from which they toil all year round producing basic food and cash crops and contribute over 80% to our national food supply.
Shehuri disclosed this during the flag–off/roll out ceremony of the distribution of free agricultural inputs to farmers at the Ministry’s office complex in Maiduguri, Borno State.
The Minister stated that the Federal Government would continue to support smallholder farmers as well as the physically challenged farmers in Borno State to boost agricultural production in the state and Nigeria in general.
He added that the smallholder farmers would play a major role in ensuring food security and towards averting food scarcity in the 2021 dry season farming which is on-going.
According to him, President Muhammadu Buhari had directed that smallholder farmers must be supported with seeds, agro chemicals and small agro equipment to rekindle their hope and accelerate their recovery process from the economic loss suffered during this COVID-19 pandemic
He pointed out that Agricultural Extension Services have been rejigged to serve farmers so that there is seamless and unbroken food supply chain across the country.
These efforts, he explained, had paid off as our food requirement is mostly produced locally with little or no consideration for food imports since COVID-19 set in.”
The Minister reiterated the commitment of the Ministry towards making the country self sufficient in food production through appropriate Inputs distribution which are available to farmers on subsidy that ranges from 50% to 100%.
According to him, ” this initiative to a large extent has helped the farmers to increase their profits and earn income to families economically”.
He observed that in spite of the security challenges in the State, farmers have demonstrated resilience by optimising productivity to contribute to national food security, adding that the Federal Government would continue to provide the much needed support to further encourage them towards boosting food production and providing rural infrastructure to support their efforts.
The Minister further said that the rural Infrastructure is mainly rural roads, solar boreholes, street lights and Rural markets are distributed across the three senatorial districts.
He informed that ” the items provided for farmers are ; certified Rice seeds – faro 44(24MT), Maize foundation seed (15MT), Cashew nuts (1,5MT) Groundnut foundation (2.5MT),Cashew seeds (1.5MT), Castor foundation (1MT), 3HP irrigation water pumps among others “
“it should be noted that this is 3rd in the series of the distribution of the Ministry’s palliative incentives to farmers in the North East after Gombe and Bauchi States.
He said so far 12 states have benefitted from the distribution of quality inputs to sustain food production, create jobs and the grow the economy from rural base.
The Minister disclosed that in the roll out distribution exercise, “at least 35% of the agricultural inputs are targeted at women farmers in line with the targetsand urged the farmers to key in the value chain policy of the Ministry which is aimed towards achieving food sufficiency, increase earnings and job creation for the farmers
In another event, the Minister commissioned the Bolari Rural Modern Market in Maiduguri Metropolitan Council.
At the event , he stated that the modern market would ensure that the farmers have their food production at identified spots which will increase sales and earnings.
He also visited the Lake Chad Research Institute, Maiduguri mandate is canto improve the yield and disease resistance of millet, wheat and barley and experiment different methods of farming.