Wole Adedeji, Ilorin
Agricultural subsidy inputs that would give no less than 10,000 farmers access to 50 per cent market price slash has been launched, in Kwara State.
Performing the launch, Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, on Wednesday, said the scheme was a step aligned with the state’s strategic plan for food security and sustainable development.
The governor told the farmers that the intervention became necessary to compensate for their loss to the COVID-19 pandemic in the last farming season, and to boost food production this farming season in the state.
“This subsidy scheme gives our farmers easy access to certified seeds, assorted fertilisers and herbicides for the 2021 planting season at 50% market price.
“This initiative is part of the administration’s sustained efforts to use agriculture to drive economic growth and food security in the post COVID-19 pandemic era.
“I assure you that mechanisms have been put in place, especially reliable data, to ensure that these inputs get only to the intended farmers.
“This programme is basically to improve productivity. We have to bring this subsidy because our farmers went through a lot of hardship last year with COVID-19.
“So, we needed to step in to enable them to get fertilisers, improved seedlings and herbicides to boost production.
“It is not just about food security in Kwara State but in Nigeria as a whole. Farmers are farming largely without any problem in Kwara. We only need to support them.
“The aim is to achieve food security in Nigeria, not just Kwara. From animal husbandry to all other facets of agriculture,” the governor stressed.
He continued, “Kwara is also working out a partnership with the Lagos State government on rice production which may see roughly N10 billion investments over the next four years.
“We have the land. We are negotiating with some states, especially Lagos state. Lagos has arguably the biggest rice mill in Nigeria today, but they don’t have land.
We want to take advantage of that and we are talking in that direction to have an MOU. And then, the Federal Government is working with us.
“We are working on the special agro-processing zone to be located in Lata which will see the investment of about N10billion going to agriculture in Edu and Patigi local government areas alone in the next two to four years. So, we need to scale up what we are doing in those areas”.
Governor AbdulRazaq urged the farmers to make good use of the opportunity to have a more rewarding farming experience this year adding that the efforts would lead to better income and improved livelihood across the state.
At the occasion, Kwara State House of Assembly Committee Chairman on Agriculture, Hon. Ojo Olayiwola, commended the state government for placing high premium on the agricultural sector with several supports to farmers in the state.
Also, Permanent Secretary, Kwara State Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Hajia Maryam Nurudeen, explained that the scheme was designed to enhance and improve productivity of the farmers.
Her words, “This scheme has been conceptualised to enhance the productivity of farmers and it is not only limited to improve the standard of living of thousands of household across the 16 LGAs of the state but also to encourage mass participation of farmers, including women in farming activities most especially among our teeming youth,” she said.
Similarly, the Technical Assistant to the Governor on Agriculture; AbdulQuawiy Olododo said the scheme, tagged ‘Beta Yield’, would provide access to farmers as a way to secure certified and improved seedlings and boost production of farmers in the state.
“The flag off of Kwara State Agricultural Inputs Subsidy Scheme today is an offshoot of the Kwara State Agricultural Transformation Plan launched in January this year,” he said.