Governor of Kaduna State, Malam Nasir El-Rufai, has described President Muhammadu Buhari as the leader who saw tomorrow by making agriculture a priority five years ago when he came into power.
El-Rufai said this in Kaduna at the flag-off of distribution of inputs to farmers by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development as parts of mitigation efforts against COVID-19.
He said; “today our country is on its way to self sufficiency in many agricultural products such as rice, maize and many others.”
The governor said it is uncertain where Nigeria could have been amidst the COVID-19 pandemic if the country had needed to import food from abroad and urged Nigerians to appreciate the president for his foresight.
He said Kaduna State is a leading producer of many crops, adding that; “we produce 22 percent of Nigeria’s maize, we are leading producers of soya beans, tomatoes and sorghum among others and we have seen the impact of the federal government’s policies on rural income as well as major contribution to security because when people have money in their pockets, they tend to live in peace.”
The governor said even with increased seedlings and greater access to fertilizer, herbicides and pesticides, there was a need to multiply production and productivity which he said could only be done through investment in mechanization and extension workers.
Earlier, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mohammed Sabo Nanono, said the Ministry was distributing 26MT of certified wheat seeds to farmers, 1350 maize production kits and 18,517Kg of Aflasafe to ensure that the maize produced is aflatoxin-free.
He said the ministry was supporting rice farmers through Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria with 270MT and 300MT of certified foundation seeds of flood tolerant rice varieties of FARO 66 and FARO 67 respectively.
“The association is expected to distribute the seeds to their members nationwide for 2020 cropping seasons.
“Furthermore, 14 selected seed companies that have the capacity to produce foundation seeds will be receiving 20MT of breeder seeds of the same varieties in preparation for the 2021 wet season,” he said.
Nanono also announced that the ministry will distribute 66,000 sprouted nuts of palm oil to farmers in Kaduna, Nasarawa and Kogi states for free while also ensuring that the farmers get other inputs at 75 percent subsidy.
The Minister said, since the advent of COVID-19, the priority of every country in the world is to ensure limited disruption to its food supply chains, adding that a number of countries have banned or drastically reduced food exports.
Giving instance with Nigeria, the Minister said with dwindling oil revenues and limited opportunity to import food, “one would only wonder what Nigeria would have been experiencing today, in terms of food supply, if this administration had not taken the right policy steps and remained focused and steadfast.”