Minister of State, FCT, Dr Ramatu Tijjani-Aliyu has reiterated the commitment of the Federal Capital Territory Administration to the implementation of innovative Agricultural programmes that will help to reposition the Agricultural sector and enhance the attainment of food security.
The Minister made this declaration when she led officials of the FCT Administration to flag-off the 2023 farming season in the FCT at the Area 10 Sports Complex Garki ,Abuja.
She disclosed that the the Administration has expended over N2 billion Naira to procure both Fertilizer and other agricultural inputs to bolster the 2023 support programme; expressing confidence that the intervention through the provision of critical Agricultural inputs will help to boost domestic food production and Improve the livelihood of FCT residents.
Her words: “the budgetary provision for the procurement of agricultural inputs has been increased from N200 million in 2021 to N2 billion in the 2023 budget, which has been utilized to procure fertilizers and other farm inputs such as Irrigation equipment, mechanized farm implements, Agro- chemicals as well as assorted improved seedlings.
“A total of 970 MT of NPK, 750 MT of Urea, 6,000 liters of liquid fertilizers have been procured. All the products are to be sold to farmers at the 50% subsidized rates as approved by the FCT Administration,” she added.
Tijjani -Aliyu expressed the readiness of the Administration to work with the private sector and reputable Agricultural institutions to build the capacities of Agric Extension Agents to enhance knowledge acquisition and the delivery of efficient support services to grassroot farmers.
“The Administration is very much aware of the importance of knowledge acquisition and sharing in Agricultural sector, which is why it has over the years been investing in capacity building for farmers. I will like to thank organisations like the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Leventis Foundation and several other for their relentless support in helping to reposition the sector through the offering of quality training for our Extension Agents and farmers in FCT”, the Minister of State emphasized.
She, however, warned officials of the Secretariat to avoid engaging in fraudulent practices and ensure that only certified farmers are allocated the inputs and also extend surveillance to the markets to ensure that they are not sold illegally.
In his remarks, the Permanent Secretary, FCTA, Mr. Olusade Adesola, said the world today is threatened by food crisis exacerbated by population growth, conflicts and Climate Change; making reference to a warning by the United Nations that global hunger is at a record high with the number of people that are food insecure growing astronomically and that nations that do not feed her people are feeding conflicts.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Secretary Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat, Mallam Abubakar Ibrahim assured that the Secretariat was prepared for the distribution exercise .
He urged farmers that make payments to pick their products at the designated warehouses in the six Area Councils that have all been rehabilitated to better standards after they were vandalised during the EndSARS protest .