The federal government has concluded plans to distribute improved seeds to two million smallholder farmers in the country as palliative ahead of the 2020 planting season.
This was disclosed by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Sabo Nanono during the flag-off of distribution of seeds as palliative to 10,000 smallholder farmers in 13 selected states by the International Crop Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) in collaboration with the federal ministry of agriculture and rural development (FMARD), in conjunction with other agricultural development partners held in Kano State.
According to the minister, the federal government has found it necessary to intervene in the agricultural sector as the backbone of the nation’s development, adding that assisting the smallholder farmers with improved seeds will go a long way in boosting the nation’s food production capacity especially in the aftermath of COVID-19 pandemic.
In his address, ICRISAT country representative in Nigeria, Dr Hakeem Ajeigbe, stated that the current situation calls for intervention in farming activities in the country, adding that the research institute and some other partners considered it very important to distribute the seeds as palliatives to smallholder farmers.
He added that each beneficiary will be given single crop for planting in a hectare, saying, “We have improved seeds of sorghum, millet, cowpea and rice.
“We intend to use our extension workers in the distribution processes to ease farmers’ hardships and to also forestall the prospect of consuming stored seeds as grains”.