The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), launched the 2023 agricultural season on Friday, four years after it last done so.
Dr Ramatu Tijjiani Aliyu, Minister of State in the FCT, said during the event when she gave various agricultural supplies to farmers that the event was last held in the FCT in 2019.
She said that the #EndSARs protest in 2020 resulted in the theft of the majority of the inputs purchased and slated for distribution to farmers.
“During the protest, almost all our warehouses were vandalized, putting the Secretariat’s efforts to organize the event in 2022 on hold.”
Aliyu went on to say that during the last year, the Administration has been able to renovate numerous warehouses and build new structures to expand their ability to hold as many inputs as feasible.
“In the same vein, the budgetary provision for agricultural input procurement has been increased from N200 million in 2021 to a whopping N2 billion in the 2023 budget, which has been used to procure fertilizer and non-fertilizer inputs such as irrigation equipment, mechanized farm implements, Agro-chemicals, and various improved seedlings.”
In addition, 970 MT of NPK, 750 MT of Urea and 6,000 liters of liquid fertilizer have been purchased. The FCT Administration has approved a 50% subsidy for all items to be sold to farmers.
“I have issued a directive to Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat to ensure that the Fertilizer Distribution Committee expands its scope of distribution to reach out to more farmers in order to ensure that the inputs reach the targeted farmers.”
“Our primary goal is to include Cooperative societies, Area Council authorities, 17 chiefdoms, SWOFON (Women Farmers), Sarkin Noma’s in the 62 FCT wards, vulnerable groups, and known individual farmers in the list,” she added.
Mr Olusade Adesola, Permanent Secretary in the FCT Administration, said that world hunger is at an all-time high, with the number of people experiencing food insecurity expanding exponentially.
He stated that the 2022 Food Security Analysis Report reveals a drop of more than 30% in the population of food-insecure families from about 349,876 in October 2021 to 233,233 in November 2022, indicating that the FCT Administration is on the right track.
“I would like to begin on the premise by emphasizing the strategic importance of the initiative of annual provision of inputs to farmers in strengthening the capacity of our food production systems to meet the yearning of any society.”
“It is in accordance with this goal that the FCT Administration has increased the budgetary allocation to the agricultural sector over the years, and I want to state that the support that we are providing farmers today is, by far, the highest in the history of the Federal Capital Territory.” “Credit must go to the Honorable Minister of State for the FCT for being at the forefront of advocating for better funding for the sector,” Adesola added.