The Hon. Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Senator Abubakar Kyari, CON, has disclosed that, government was working towards reforming Bank of Agriculture, National Agriculture Development Fund and Nigeria Agriculture Insurance Corporation to deal with farmers’ access to credit facility.
The Minister revealed this on Tuesday 28th November, 2023 while speaking on NTA “Good Morning Nigeria” programme. He pointed out that in order to mitigate the problem of access to finance, government is subsidizing farm inputs to farmers while the process of reforming the three institutions is underway.
Farmers, he said had been heavily impacted by flood in the past farming season. In order to mitigate their losses, they opted not to farm during this 2023 wet season which contributed to food inflation. This was compounded earlier in the year by the Naira redesign policy which came into full force during the harvest season earlier this year.
Market intelligence according to the minister, indicated that farmers sold their produce at give-away prices. This explains why Federal Government opted to subsidize inputs for farmers in 2023 dry season farming by taking advantage of African Development Bank facility.
Kyari advocated for local cultivation of wheat since it is in high demand for confectioneries and other daily needs, boost food security and improve the economic fortunes of farmers pointing out that its importation will deplete the country’s foreign exchange.
The Minister revealed that Federal government is providing free wheat seeds to farmers while fertilizer is subsidized at 50% to enable farmers have access.
He stated that, with the declaration of emergency on food security by Mr. President, the focus of the Ministry is on how to increase yield using the available land for both dry and wet season farming. He further revealed that the Ministry was deploying technology to harvest flood water for dry season farming.
The Minister however noted with concern, the problem of lack of data on farmers and farms; who is a farmer and where the farms are located, pointing out that such data will help in monitoring the activities of farmers. He revealed that the Ministry was working with State Governments to provide the data to further help to monitor activities of farmers.
The Minister said that extension workers system was being revived as well as deployment of technology in partnership with Federal Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy.
Senator Kyari while bemoaning continuous use of local and obsolete tools for agriculture, which has discouraged youth from venturing into agriculture, emphasized the need for mechanization. He stated that government was working towards making farmers have access to mechanization.
To combat post-harvest losses, the Minister said that the Ministry has Silos across the country, some of which had been concessioned while some are undergoing rehabilitation.
Obe M. Mabel
Prin. Officer Information
For: Director, Information (FMAFS)