From Okwe Obi, Abuja
The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar, says her ministry will synergize with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to ensure that small scale farmers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic are supported.
TFarouq made this known on Thursday when the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development flagged off the distribution of agricultural inputs to small holder farmers affected by COVID-19, in Abuja.
She said the Federal Government is aware of the effects of the pandemic on farmers, hence the establishment of massive Social Investment Programmes to support farmers especially women in the country .
In a statement by her Special Adviser on Media, Nneka Ikem Anibeze, she said: “I have been mostly hit following the effects of restricted movements, closure of markets, reduced livelihoods of people which also reduced marketing outlets, the unavailability and price hike of inputs. Many could not fully produce their commodities due to hardship.
“It is in recognition of this that the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development answered to the directive of Mr President to mount a nationwide palliative programme to support our poor and vulnerable farmers.
‘I congratulate the Honourable Minister and I assure him that my Ministry will support this initiative fully.”
The Minister added that government’s school feeding programme will patronize the farmers and make use of their produce to feed the children.
She, however, advised the farmers to be productive as the sustenance of Agriculture is paramount to adding to the economy of any state.
“I want to assure the Honourable Minister that our relevant interventions under the National Social Investment Programme (NSIP) fully complement this initiative.
“The N-Power interventions will ensure that appropriate skills and competences are delivered to the small scale farmers to ensure effectiveness and productivity.
“The Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP) will also ensure that timely loans are delivered to the farmers especially in the FarmerMoni package, to expand their production and sustain their businesses.
“Furthermore, our National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme (NHGFP) will serve as an immediate off-taker to the farm produce for feeding children in our public primary schools.
“This is a deliberate market for the community farmers on one hand and also a support to poor children to go to school effectively”.
In his address, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural development, Sabo Nanono, stated that the essence of the program is to empower rural women in the farming sector.
“It is my pleasure to roll out the distribution of agricultural inputs to about 7500 small holder women farmers from the north central states and the FCT, to alleviate the effects of the COVID 19 pandemic on them”.
Minister of the FCT Mallam Mohammed Musa Bello, the minister of Labour and Productivity Dr Chris Ngige, the minister of Women Affairs Dame Pauline Tallen, Representative of the minister Finance, budget and national planning and other dignitaries, attended the flag off.