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FG, stakeholders strategise on 2nd phase of 2023/24 Dry Season farming

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By Victoria Onehi

The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security under the National Agricultural Growth Scheme and Agro Pocket  (NAGS-AP) Programme along with critical stakeholders in the sector, met to strategise on the implementation of the second phase of 2023/2024 Dry Season Farming. This is aimed at securing a robust and resilient food production Ecosystem to drive down the food inflation and boost production.

The Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Sen. Abubakar Kyari, CON, stated that the objective of the forum was to review the implementation of the 2023/2024 dry season wheat production implemented in the fifteen (15) wheat producing States of the Federation based on their respective comparative advantage and preparatory meeting to chart a new course for the implementation of the second phase for rice, maize and cassava. 

Speaking at the Closing Ceremony of the event that took place recently  at Debbie Upper Class, Recreation Center, Orozo, and attended by the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of Economy, Mr Wale Edun and Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, Alhaji Atiku Bagudu, Kyari stated that the project aside supporting farmers with critical farm inputs for the production of the priority crops, will also provide institutional support for better performances and sustainability particularly in the areas of wheat seeds local production.

The Minister in revealed in a statement that there were observed lapses in the implementation process hence the need for collective and comprehensive evaluation of the efforts put in place and proffer qualitative remedial measures to forestall their reoccurrence.

He stated that all necessary machineries and strategies would be put in place to address all the observed lapses and infraction from all parties.

The Minister pointed out that officers will be deployed to manage and coordinates the supply chain activities, should adhere strictly to the laid-down rules and guiding principles while in their own case.

He added that ‘’the ICT platform provider are to deploy the best and reliable system that can capture and trace all the transactions under the agro-pocket, being the primary purpose government decided to utilize technology in the inputs delivery process to promote transparency, accountability and easy tracking of the impacts and performance’’.

The Minister charged the input producers’ fertilizers, seeds, agro-chemicals to ensure that the products supply meet with the prescribed set standards in terms of quantity and quality, the input distributors or agro-dealers to sell only certified and approved products sourced from the registered input producers.

He stressed that the farmers should use and apply the entire inputs given in line with the best agronomic practices for maximum productivities’’.

Kyari noted that a dimension of encumbrance to the dry season wheat farming under the NAGS-AP were cases of farmers’ inability to pay their component of the input cost.

In his remarks, the Minister of Finance, Mr. Wale Edu stated the importance of agriculture sector cannot be overemphasized under the leadership of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu ‘’ there is substantial  intervention funds for the agric sector ,in terms of food production, to produce more rice ,maize wheat and cassava. It will help to bring down rate of inflation. A successful dry season farming will bring down cost of food production and will bring down inflation’’.

In his Goodwill message, the Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, Alhaji Atiku Bagudu said that  ‘’ Nigeria agricultural space is one of the most elastic in the world, every cropping season can produce a miracle, if there is more investment in the sector.’’. He added that the present administration under the President is committed to the agriculture sector in terms of improvement in budget allocation and other intervention funds to achieve food and nutrition security.  

Also speaking at the event, the Minister of State, Sen. Dr. Aliyu Abdullahi   pledged  that all members of the agricultural ecosystem would work assiduously to drive the change in the agriculture sector in line with Renewed Hope Agenda of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu geared towards achieving Food and Nutrition Security.  

In her welcome address, the Director, overseeing office of the Permanent Secretary, Mrs. Olwatoyin Alade represented by the Director Planning and Policy Coordination, Mr. Tanimu Ibrahim revealed that “the goal of the National Agricultural Growth Scheme (NAGS) is to increase total food production to crash the continued rise in the prices of agricultural commodities and make them affordable to the average Nigerians.”

She added that “the key objective is to increase the production of wheat, rice, maize, sorghum, Cassava and soyabean through the provision of relevant farm inputs such as fertilizers, high quality seeds, agro-chemicals etc to small scale farmers under both dry and wet season farming.”

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