The Federal Ministry of Agriculture has sent a directive to all state Directors of Agriculture to take inventory of all farmers affected by the flood ravaging parts of the country with a view to helping them with farm inputs for the dry season farming.
A release signed by the Special Assistant Media & Strategy minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Olukayode Oyeleye, said the decision was reached at a meeting held between the minister, Akinwumi Adesina, directors and heads of departments in the ministry.
“For the production, the regional and state office directors of the ministry will be working with the states’ commissioners and directors of agriculture on how to go about the intervention of emergency Growth Enhancement Support (GES) platform. Stressing the urgency, the Minister, Dr. Akin Adesina, said the more delays we have, the less successful the interventions will be,” said the release.
The release also quoted the minister as saying: “we are dealing with a different class of farmers in the flood recovery. We therefore need real sensitisation. Under GES, we already have dry season farming plan for horticulture. This will help take care of horticultural crops such as onion, tomato, etc. We will use a three-pronged approach: provide seeds and fertiliser to flood affected areas to use when the flood recedes; we will provide seeds and fertliser for flood-affected states to provide in areas not affected and we will provide seeds and fertliser for states that are not affected to produce foods that we can buy to feed those in flood affected areas.”
"Since crops have been harvested in many states, it was deemed right to purchase food now.
“If we don’t buy up food now, some of the food items will be smuggled to other countries,” the minister observed, adding that the strategic grains reserve has 86,000 MT of assorted farm produce in stock now, available for deployment or release to the affected areas. “Old stock was about 42,000 MT and we have to replenish the strategic grains reserve.”
According to Dr. Adesina, “logistics on distribution at the states level to reach intended beneficiaries” will be worked out and “this will be an opportunity to get farmers to continue to register under GES, and – for accounting purposes – keep a separate record of this emergency exercise.
"The minister observed that, although to meet the 3 MMT for 160 million population, the “available stock in SGR still far too low, we are buying all the seeds available locally. In addition, in augmenting the local supply of seeds, we are importing. But, by importing, we are not displacing the local seeds companies and we are not distorting the supply because they don’t have enough seeds now. It is a one-time support for the double-up to get more produced."
The minister said the ministry will bear the cost of inputs while the affected states will bear the cost of preparing the lands for the emergency farming.