23 November 2012

Nigeria: 1.2 Million Farmers Get Seeds, Fertiliser

The Federal Government has said that it has provided seeds and fertiliser to 1.2 million farmers using the e-wallet of the Growth Enhancement Scheme.

Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Akinwuwi Adesina, made this known yesterday during the distribution of food items to four states and the FCT in Minna, Niger State.

The states are Niger, Kebbi, Zamfara and Sokoto.

The minister noted that no fewer than 32,000 farmers benefitted from the scheme in Niger.

He said government distributed 67,000 tonnes of maize seed, 30 million stem cuttings of cassava and over 3.5 million hybrid cocoa pods or a total of 114 million cocoa seeds free to farmers.

The minister said other items distributed include nine million sprouted nuts of oil palm seedlings to revamp our palm oil production and cotton seeds to farmers across the northern states free of charge.

"We have continued to strongly support farmers and we will continue to do so," he said.

The minister, who expressed reservation about the media reportage of flood in the country, said: "While we do not dispute the economic losses, some of the figures being used are not based on real data.

"If you believe all you read in the papers, you would think that all of Nigeria is under water. That is simply not correct. None of these statements are based on any real rigorous data and analysis.

"Those who want to flood our markets with cheap imported food are taking advantage of these panic statements and have started clamoring for waivers for food imports. Nothing is better business than the panic business."

Adesina assured Nigerians that the country's food security had not been compromised by the flood, adding that only 1.1 per cent of the total crop area in Nigeria was affected by the flood.

"The estimated crop loss would be about only 1.2 million tonnes of production loss."

He said that his ministry was 'aggressively' implementing the Flood Recovery Food Production programmes with the distribution of food relief from the Strategic Grain Reserves to flood victims.

Adesina said 40,000 tonnes of food items which included maize, sorghum, gari and millet had being released and distributed from the Strategic Grain Reserve Silos located across the country.

He said 4,200 tonnes of fertilisers would be distributed to four states, Niger, Kebbi, Zamfara and Sokoto and warned against sharp practices by the officers handling the distribution of the grains.

Gov Babangida Aliyu of Niger commended the Federal Government for its assistance to the state and promised to ensure that the food items reached the intended beneficiaries.

He said that his government had also provided similar assistance to the flood victims.

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