By Sule ALIYU, Bauchi
The APC administration in Bauchi state has within the past two years established 33 hectares of orchard and 20 hectares of Woodlot plantation under the Great Green Wall (GGW) programme of the Federal Government.
The State Commissioner for Agriculture, Barrister Yakubu Kirfi said the programme was implemented in three Northern fringes Local Government Areas namely, Jama’are, Katagum and Gamawa.
Kirfi, ant an on-going state ministerial press briefing also disclosed that the government similarly provided over 12, 000 seedlings of date palm for distribution and planting in the Great Green Wall corridor.
These, the commissioner said, were in addition to the construction of skill acquisition centre at Chinade village in Katagum Local Government Area to train youths at the GGW corridor.
The commissioner further revealed that the sum of over N6 million was expended as support contribution for the state aerial spray to control quella birds by the federal government.
“Over N28 million was expended for the purchase of chemicals and equipment for the control of quella birds and other pest in the state in 2016”, he added.
“A workshop for enumerators on canoes registration was organized by the Federal Department of fisheries, Abuja in conjunction with the state government where 40 enumerators were trained on the benefits for canoe registration.
These benefits include access to credit, training fishermen to increase their knowledge, strengthen networking of fishermen in sharing, as well as security identification of offenders, among others.
Barrister Yakubu Kirfi told the press that Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) has during the period constructed four earthen fish ponds, provided security house, stocked 20, 000 fish, provided 120 bags of fish seeds, as well as 4 generators, 4 drilled tube wall to benefiting of Itas, Sakuwa, Katagum, and Piro village in Bauchi LGA.
The state government on the other hand provided livestock extension services to livestock and poultry farmers across the state on modern techniques of livestock and poultry production.
Kirfi further explained that the state ministry of agriculture in collaboration with Growth and Employment is states (GEMS4) and Animal Care have conducted about 31 step down trainings in 20 LGAs where about 5, 675 farmers were trained on modern ruminant fettering method.
In addition, about 200 veterinary and para vet staff, 582 farmers (533 males and 49 females) farmers were inducted in the programme with the total number of 1, 496 animals (consisting of 1,087 small ruminants and 409 large ruminants) under a poverty and job creation programme, among others.
He said that the state government supported the biometric data capturing of farmers in the state which will enable small scale farmers’ access inputs directly from suppliers at subsidized rates under the National Agricultural Payment Initiative (NAPI), a modified Growth Enhancement Support Scheme (GES).
Government equally procured over 20, 000 metric tons of assorted fertilizer worth N2.8 billion which was distributed to rainy and dry season farmers across the state in the 2015 – 2016 farming season, he stated.
It also keyed into the Federal Government Anchor Borrower’s programme for rice and wheat production with 8, 000 registered to participate in the programme, and N1, 152, 132, 000 spent for the purchase of equipment/materials, fertilizer, payment of cash to registered farmers and training of extension workers and farmers.
The commissioner gave challenges in the sector as vagaries of weather and desertification, as well as over dependence on rain fed agriculture that has negative effect on crops production.
Others are lack of agro processing factories which can add value and make agriculture profitable, and infrastructural decay covering farm service centres and zonal offices.
Also in the challenges are lack of timely release of funds, inadequate and timely supply of farm inputs, inadequate farm machineries and lack of maintenance of the existing ones, and high cost of livestock and fish feeds, among others.
In a related development, World Bank Assisted Rural Roads Projects that will give access and mobility to the rural areas of Bauchi state, amounting to $60 million with the state government contributing 5% of the amount are to be undertaken in various parts of the state.
The State commissioner for rural and Community Development, Sama’ila Mohammed Isa dropped the hint for the projects undertaking Tuesday while fielding the press at the on-going state ministerial briefing.
The commissioner, who assured that the rural roads projects execution will soon commence with each of the twenty Local Government Areas benefitting, saying criteria for the successful take-off of the projects have almost been completed.
He explained that the last lap of the criteria which is the conveyance of stakeholders’ workshop comes up within the next few weeks, while the World Bank accredited consultant on the projects has completed 50% of his work on 1, 000 kilometers of roads.
These were in addition to the provision of projects coordinating unit with all infrastructure, office furniture and all necessary working materials provided at a cost of N12, 576, 312: 30, and inventory taken by the engaged consultant.
Isa stated that his ministry was saddled with the responsibility of promoting rural development through improvement of welfare and productive capacities of rural dwellers by providing adequate infrastructure and building human capacity in an atmosphere of social harmony and political stability.
Alhaji Sama’ila Isa enumerated some of the achievements recorded by his ministry within the past two years that included repairs of washed-away roads, undertaking electrification projects, construction of double cell and collapsed cell culverts, as well as rehabilitation and repairs of heavy duty machines, among others.
He however gave challenges being faced by his ministry as lack of coordination and demarcation between the ministry, Jos Electricity Distribution Company and the ministry of mines, power, energy and environment on maintenance and repairs of power lines.
Other challenges, he spelt out, are inadequate manpower due to retirement and death of staff which are not being replaced, a well as cash flow constraint due to the economic recession being experienced presently in the country.