In its drive to promote poverty alleviation, the Federal Government of Nigeria through the Federal Ministries of Agriculture and Food Security and that of Budget and National Planning have empowered 240 farmers in Benue state by distributing agricultural inputs to them.
The distribution was done during the training and empowerment of verified and validated beneficiaries of the National Poverty Reduction with Growth Strategy (NPRGS) on Wednesday, in Makurdi, the state capital.
Speaking at the ceremony, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, Mr Temitope Fadeshemi, explained that the distribution aimed to reduce poverty in Benue in particular and Nigeria at large, stressing that the programme was taking place in all the 36 states including the Federal Capital Territory.
Represented by the State Coordinator, Mr Boniface Tongov, Mr Fadeshemi lamented the high level of poverty in the country, stressing that an estimated population of 88.4 million people in Nigeria was living in extreme poverty.
“The number of men living on less than 1.90 U.S. dollars a day in the country reached around 44.7 million, while the count was at 43.7 million for women. Overall, 12.9 percent of the global population in extreme poverty was found in Nigeria as of 2022.
“This is why the Federal Government of Nigeria through the FMBNP in collaboration with FMAFS is making conscious efforts at reducing the spate of poverty across the country”, Fadeshemi said.
In his remarks, the Director General, Bureau of Agricultural Development and Mechanisation in Benue state, Engr, Terese Ninga, who was represented by the Acting Director of Agricultural Services, Mrs Comfort Anum, Engr. Ninga commended the federal government for taking the bold steps to reduce poverty through agriculture.
The Director advised the beneficiaries to make judicious use of the inputs to enhance their income rather than selling them.
The Senior Agricultural Officer, Federal Department of Agricultural Extension, Linda Ukpoju, disclosed that the programme was targeted at lifting poor people, especially rural farmers out of poverty.
Some of the beneficiaries, Mr Mson Bem, Mbakereen Agwa, Mary Ajai and Mary Onuh, all appreciated the federal government for the gesture, promising to make adequate use of the inputs to improve food security and their well-being.
Each of the beneficiaries was given a knapsack sprayer, while crop farmers were given rice, maize, tomato, okra and pepper seeds, herbicides, inorganic fertiliser, and fish farmers were given feeds, as poultry farmers were also given a carton of a day-old chick and feeds.