From: Sola Ojo, Kaduna
As the planting season began, farmers in Kaduna State are to get one million bags of fertilizers at subsidized rate of N5,500 per bag, the State’s Commissioner for Agriculture and Forestry, Professor Kabiru Matto, has said.
The Commissioner, who stated this while briefing newsmen ahead the farming season proper in Kaduna yesterday said, the state government has ordered for the supply of the said figure which is to be distributed at the end of May.
According to him, arrangements for the supply was made between the Kaduna state government and Flour Mills of Nigeria, but in order to avoid increment in price which will hinder the initiative, the state government will shoulder the responsibility of disbursing the fertilizer to farmers upon arrival from Lagos.
He said, “having learn from mistakes made earlier last year, we will ensure that we distribute the fertilizer to the targeted farmers and we will also ensure its timely disbursement so that it can meet up with the rain”.
Professor Matto also called on farmers in the state who are yet to return the anchor borrowers’ money loaned to them for investment in agriculture to hurry up in order for the state government to have the opportunity of seeking for more assistance from the CBN.
“In Kaduna state last year, the CBN was able to disburse over N4 billion to farmers through anchor borrowers programme, but unfortunately the rate of the payment after sometime has been poor. As soon as we return the borrowed money, we will roll out the 2017 borrower programme which Kaduna farmers will benefit from”, the commissioner warned.
He however suggested that, the frequent clashes between Fulani herdsmen and farmers can be resolved through establishment of grazing reserves in areas mostly affected.
He said the state government has set aside array of land in some areas such as Kagarko, Damau, Gayan and Birnin-gwari for the grazing reserves, outlining that, the benefit to be reaped upon welcoming the initiative to include provision of schools, veterinary clinics and hospitals for the herders and other persons with the reserved surroundings.
“If you have a grazing reserve, meaning that you have pastures that will be suitable for the cattles, and that will also prevent the movement of nomads from one place to another, which in most cases resulting to crises.
“Settlement of herders means reduction in quantum of crises which normally occurs. Secondly, there will also be improvement in quality herdsmen’s life, because children will settle in one place and go to school not being much worry of what cows will feed on since its already in their backyard”, he stated.