The Federal Government has approved N9.7 billion to implement its Flood Recovery Food Production plan meant to support farmers in some states affected by the recent flood disaster in the country.
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, dropped the hint at an emergency meeting with states commissioners for agriculture on the national flood recovery production programme in Abuja.
Adesina assured Nigerians that the country would not witness food crisis or famine, adding that it would soon recover from the impacts of the disaster. He said: "The real issue then is how we will compensate for the losses incurred. We have already put in place a Flood Recovery Food Production plan to support farmers in the flood affected areas".
"As the flood water recede, we will embark on a flood recession food production intervention. Mr. President has approved N 9.7 billion naira for us to implement this plan", he added.
Explaining the strategies to use in implementing the plan, he disclosed that the government would release 40,000 metric tonnes (MT) of food from the strategic grain reserves to the families affected directly by the floods.
The minister added: "We will provide improved seeds and fertilisers to farmers that are directly affected. These will be provided free of charge, to allow them to quickly return to their farms, as soon as the flood water recede".
"In states that are affected by floods, but with vast areas that are unaffected, we will provide improved seeds and fertilisers for farmers in unaffected areas to produce food for their states. Finally, in other parts of the country that are not affected by the floods, we will provide improved seeds and fertilisers to help them double up production", he revealed.
Adesina further disclosed that the government had already secured 100 MT of seed of extra-early maturing maize, which matures in 60 days, to plant 5,500 ha of farm lands in affected areas, stressing that this will allow affected farmers to have a crop and feed themselves quickly before the next planting season.
He also pointed out that it would produce 11,000 tonnes of maize while being complemented with an additional 500,000 tonnes to be produced under irrigation in the dry season.
"We have mobilised from within and outside Nigeria, over 14,300 MT of rice seed, enough to plant 300,000 ha of rice farm lands in flood affected areas. This will allow the production of 1.2 million MT of rice grain. We will also provide planting materials for cassava and yams for affected areas.
"We will complement this flood recovery food production plan with expanded dry season production of food. We expect to produce an additional 420,000 MT of rice in the dry season in six states of the Northwest of the country.
"Together, with the flood recovery food production plan, which will add an additional 880,000 MT of rice, we expect to produce a total of 1.3 million MT of rice", he stated.