Federal government of Nigeria, through the ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has handed over agricultural inputs to Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo State to distribute to farmers in the state as part of its mitigation measures against COVID-19.Speaking during the flagoff of the distribution, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Sabo Nanono disclosed that distribution of inputs was part of the ministry’s intervention to reduce the effect of COVID-19 pandemic on agricultural produce in Nigeria and avert food scarcity in 2021.
The Minister averred that the Federal government is ready to work hand-in hand with state governments and other relevant stakeholders to ensure food security, economic growth and job creation, especially in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.Alhaji Sabo stated that the restrictions of movement of people, goods and services had impacted negatively on food supply chains, incomes and livelihood adding that smallholders are the most vulnerable, noting that it becomes imperative for government to support them with much needed inputs especially seeds that would influence farmers’ yeild in order to enable them recover quickly from the set back of the pandemic.
The Minister revealed that his ministry and its research institutions are working towards making Nigeria self sufficient in good quality seeds and its availability to farmers as foundation for attaining food and nutrition security as well as industrialization. The inputs handed to Imo state government to distribute to farmers in the state included15,000 cocoa seedlings and, 300 cartons of Utimax plus, over 5000 oil palm sprouted nuts, 1,500kg cashew seeds, 20,000 nonsone node vine cuttings and 10,000 nos foundation seeds of yam. Others are 1,500 bundles of orange fleshed sweet potatoes, 200 litres of pathway organic enhancer and 5000 kg groundnut seeds. Receiving the inputs, the Imo State Governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma lauded the federal government for the initiative aimed at ensuring food security through its policies while assuring the Minister that his administration will ensure that farmers put the inputs into good use.