By Lateef Taiwo
The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has distributed fertilizers and other assorted agricultural inputs to different groups of farmers within the territory.
At the flagging off of the 2023 farming season and distribution of the inputs in Abuja on Friday, the Minister of State, Federal Capital Territory, Dr. Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu said the
event is indeed very apt and significant, coming at the start of the farming season in the FCT as well as capping the achievements recorded by the present Administration ably piloted by dynamic leader, President Muhammadu Buhari.
She said that the last time the event took place was in 2019, due to End SARS protest which resulted in the theft of most of the inputs that were procured and earmarked for distribution to farmers, adding that during the protest, almost all warehouses were vandalized which stalled efforts of the Administration to organize the event in 2022.
Her words: ” however, over the past year, the Administration has been able to carry out a total overhaul of the various warehouses and constructed additional structures to increase their capacity to contain as many inputs as possible.
“In the same vein, the budgetary provision for the procurement of agricultural inputs has been increased from N200 million in 2021 to a whooping N2billion in the 2023 budget which has been utilized to procure fertilizers and non-fertilizer inputs such as Irrigation equipment, mechanized farm implements, Agro- chemicals as well as assorted improved seedlings.
“Furthermore, a total of 970 MT of NPK, 750 MT of Urea, 6,000 liters of liquid fertilizers have been purchased. All the products are to be sold to farmers at the 50% subsidized rates as approved by the FCT Administration.
She continued: “In order to ensure that the inputs reach the targeted farmers, I have issued a directive to the Agriculture & Rural Development Secretariat to ensure that the Fertilizer Distribution Committee expands its scope of distribution to reach out to more farmers. Our primary focus is to ensure that Cooperative societies, Area Council authorities, 17 chiefdoms, SWOFON (Women Farmers), Sarkin Noma’s in the 62 wards of FCT, vulnerable groups as well as known individual farmers are captured in the list .
“Let me however make it clear that the inputs that were purchased were not only for crop farming. A substantial amount of the funds were expended on the procurement of inputs for the fisheries, livestock., veterinary and forestry development.
In his remarks, the Permanent Secretary, FCTA, Mr. Olusade Adesola said, world today is threatened by food crisis exacerbated by population growth, conflicts and Climate Change, he added that according to the United Nations, global hunger is at a record high with the number of people that are food insecure growing astronomically, which brought about the warning by the UN that a nations that do not feed her people are feeding conflicts.
According to him:”It is on this premise that I would like to start by stressing the importance of the initiative of annual provision of inputs to farmers, as strategic in strengthening the capacity of our food production systems to meet the yearnings of any society.
“Most times, particularly in Nigeria, when we talk about agriculture, what easily comes to mind is the availability of input, specifically fertilizers, but beyond that, are equally pertinent issues such as capacity building. This is an area which the Administration is giving attention to ensure that our farmers are availed with useful information that will help to enhance food production not just in terms of quantity but quality.
“Part of our priorities with the ease of doing business initiative which we have given an impetus, is to create the enabling environment for residents and potential investors to take advantage of the abundant agro-business investment opportunities that abound in the FCT. It is gladdening to note that this initiative is already yielding the desired results as can be seen in the robust agricultural activities that are taking place in the Territory.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Secretary Agriculture & Rural Development Secretariat, FCT, Mallam Abubakar Ibrahim
stated that the event is no doubt a reaffirmation of the commitment of the present Administration’s efforts at revitalizing the agricultural sector especially in the aspect of supporting the activities of farmers by enhancing their access to affordable agricultural inputs.
He said: “We are optimistic that with the very large quantity of inputs that have been procured for distribution, the FCT will be witnessing a bumper harvest this year. Our projection on the outcome of this support is an improvement of up to 30% in the food insecurity situation in the Federal Capital Territory.