Abuja — The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development,(FMARD), Alhaji Sabo Nanono, has restated the desire of President Muhammadu Buhari towards ensuring easy access to quality food and nutrition by Nigerians.
This is just as the federal government has distributed free agricultural inputs to 7,500 women farmers in the Federal Capital Tertiary (FCT) to help them build production assets, create jobs as well as assist the government in achieving food and nutrition security.
The minister, at the roll out ceremony of the distribution of free agricultural inputs to women smallholder farmers in Abuja, said the ministry was making genuine efforts towards challenging the unequal access to productive inputs between men and women by releasing inputs to the latter.
He said the gesture was in line with the federal government's commitment to gender equality and women empowerment in the agricultural sector.
Nanono, added that ministry was deliberately implementing the initiatives aimed at promoting gender equality and empowerment of women on line with the targets set out in the National Economic Sustainability Plan (NES), Agriculture Gender Policy, National Gender Action Plan (N-GAP) for Agriculture, Agricultural Sector Food Security and Nutrition Strategy Documents aimed at ensuring increased opportunities for women.
He said: "The ministry is supporting the women with value kits (planting materials, growth enhancer and agro-chemicals) in yam, cassava, potatoes, soybean, rice, maize, sesame, ginger, sorghum/millet, cowpea and horticultural crops. In addition, nutritional value kits will be distributed to the women today."
The choice of the crops is based on comparative advantage to its production. Again, because women are disadvantaged in land inheritance in Nigeria, the use of sacks and vertical farming are being popularised and the techniques would be demonstrated."
He added that apart from the distribution of inputs to the women, the ministry is also distributing production and processing equipment in an effort to reduce drudgery, improve efficiency, reduce cost of production and improve quality of product and produce from the operations.
He urged the beneficiaries to make judicious use of these inputs, materials and equipment to produce quality food for the nation and called on other stakeholders to provide similar support to farmers.
On his part, the Minister of State, Agriculture and Rural Development, Hon. Mustapha Baba Shehuri, said the event was one of the ministry's efforts to work hand-in hand with the state governments and other relevant stakeholders to assist in ensuring food security, economic growth and job creation, especially in the face of the pandemic.