The federal government, under the Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA), has established a network of one-stop-shop agro-input centres to ensure the availability, accessibility and affordability of agricultural inputs, as well as serve as singular access point for input and market for small scale farmers.
The initiative is meant to ensure access to agricultural inputs such as fertiliser, agro-chemical, quality seeds, and livestock feed, veterinary drugs, tractor hire and extension services.
According to the Special Assistant to the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr OlukayodeOyeleye, the agro-processing and marketing department of the ministry would be inaugurated as one of the agro-input centres on Friday, December 7, at Wushishi, Wushishi Local Government Area of Niger State.
This he explained, was infulfillment of the recommendation of the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) that at least five of such agro-input centres be constructed in each state to facilitate adequate food production and food security in 2012.
Going further, and closer to the grassroots, the National Council on Agriculture (NCA), during its last meeting, considered and approved the construction of one agro-input centre in each local government area of the federation.
These centres are, therefore, a medium-scale value chain infrastructure designed and constructed to provide adequate access to affordable agricultural inputs.
The objectives are to support organised farmer groups and out-growers network of agro-input dealers that would support the agricultural production capacity of Nigerian rural farmers, provide access to small-scale storage and processing facilities and ultimately to access to physical and virtual markets.