Judex Okoro, Calabar
The federal government has commenced moves to avert a possible food scarcity in the country in 2021.
This was disclosed by the Minister of Agriculture, Alhaji Sabo Nanono in Calabar during the imauguration of inputs distribution to farmers in Calabar on Thursday.
The inputs are part of the mitigation measures against the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nanono said the pandemic has had an adverse effect on the agricultural sector but that the Bihari administration has taken the right policy steps in the sector to avert crisis.
“It is my pleasure to be with you today to roll out the distribution of agricultural inputs to small holder farmers which include different categories cocoa seedlings, improved oil palm sprouted nuts, cashew seeds and crop protection chemicals.
“This is part of my ministry’s interventions to reduce the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on agricultural production in Nigeria and avert food scarcity in 2021.
“With dwindling oil revenues, and limited opportunity to import food, one would only wonder what Nigeria would have been experiencing in terms of food supply of this administration if this administration had not taken the right policy steps and remained focused and steadfast.
“Through this effort and other complimentary interventions by different stakeholders, the government hopes to increase the resilience of farmers and the national food systems in general”, Nanono stated.
According to him, the input distribution will cover at least 35% of women farmers in line with the targets set in the National Gender Action Plan and Policies aimed at increasing opportunities to women.
In his remarks, the Cross River State governor, Professor Ben Ayade, commended the federal government for the programme.
He said the country’s future prosperity lies in the hands of farmers and the COVID-19 pandemic shows farmers have the capacity to survive despite any situation.
Some of the inputs distributed include 5000 improved oil palm sprouted nuts, 1,500 improved cashew seeds, 20, 000 cocoa seedlings and 200 cartons of ultimax plus.