Dr. Ernest Umakhihe, the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Development (FMARD), has emphasized the Ministry’s dedication to achieving national food security.
Machine said that the ministry has developed several strategic plans, including the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative (PFI), the Green Imperative, the Agricultural Promotion Policy, and the Agriculture for Food and Jobs Plan (AFJP).
At the start of the distribution of free agricultural inputs and high-quality seeds in Benin City, Edo State, he made this statement.
The distribution of agricultural inputs, according to the permanent secretary, will improve the security of food and nutrition, economic expansion, and job creation, particularly in the post-COVID-19 future.
Agrochemicals, growth promoters, power tillers, cassava stems, planters, food dehydrators, motorized oil palm harvesters, cashew crackers, three HP water pumps, knapsack sprayers, and other equipment were distributed during the event.
According to Umakhihe, “Smallholders are the most vulnerable in times of crisis, so it becomes imperative for the federal government to support them with the essential inputs, particularly seeds, which are the most significant factor that influences farmers’ yield to enable them to recover quickly from the setback of the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect.”
He stated that by the goals established in the National Gender Plan and Policies (NGPP) intended to ensure expanded opportunities for women, 35% of the inputs were targeted toward female farmers and processors.
“Similarly, 10 percent is targeted at persons with special needs and this has been communicated to the Farmers’ associations to act accordingly,” he said.
The initiatives were created to offer essential support to smallholder farmers in the state, leverage land assets to drive development, and diversify the economy with a focus on preserving food security, according to Mr. Stephen Idehenre, Commissioner of Agriculture and Food Security for the State of Edo.
The chairman of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria’s Edo Chapter, Mr. Bako Dogo, praised the federal government, led by President Muhammadu Buhari, earlier for its progressive and practical policies in the agriculture sector, which are geared toward increasing production and income for farmers in the nation and diversifying the economy.
Physically challenged farmer Mr. Efosa Baldwin, one of the beneficiaries, thanked the ministry for providing the free agricultural inputs and promised to use them wisely.