The Federal Government has provided training and distributed agricultural inputs to over 243 farmers in Plateau to enhance agricultural production and ensure food security.
The distributed inputs for the trained farmers encompass liquid fertilizers, Knapsack sprayers, seeds, agrochemicals, fish, and poultry feeds, among other resources.
Mr. Temitope Fadashemi, the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security (FMAFS), disclosed during the distribution event in Jos that this initiative is part of the government’s deliberate efforts to mitigate poverty nationwide.
Fadashemi, represented by Dr. Steve Dowoh, the State Coordinator of FMAFS, highlighted that the primary goal is to improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers and promote sustainable agricultural practices.
The Permanent Secretary mentioned that the initiative was implemented through the National Poverty Reduction with Growth Strategy (NPRGS).
This strategy underscores the government’s commitment to tackling poverty at its core, with a focus on recognizing the crucial role of agriculture in fostering economic growth and development.
“I am delighted to remind you that the NPRGS, in collaboration with the Federal Department of Agricultural Extension Service (FDAE), has diligently enumerated and validated approximately 243 farmers for participation in this transformative programme.
“This programme is not merely an investment in agriculture; it is an investment in the future of our nation.
“We are equipping these farmers with the tools to enhance productivity, improve resilience, and embrace sustainable practices.
“We are laying the foundation for a more resilient and prosperous agricultural sector because farmers are not just the backbone of the sector; they are the heartbeat that forms the heartbeat of our nation’s prosperity,” he said.
Mr Samson Bugama, Plateau Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, urged beneficiaries to utilise federal and state governments’ interventions in the agricultural sector to boost production and guarantee food security in the state.
Bugama, who declared who launched the training and distribution, said that gesture was an opportunity for farmers to contribute to national poverty reduction.
“And in our quest to see that there is food security in our land, we are grateful to the Federal Government for coming in with this arrangement that is helping us.
“It may still be small, but one step at a time. It’s helping us to be able to at least breach the wide gap.
“We are close to a junction where, if we cannot feed ourselves, we will eat ourselves; it is my prayer that we will never get to that kind of level in Nigeria.
“We must utilise whatever is within us or has been provided for us for us to be able to feed, or at least take a step in food security,” he said.
Mr Ishaku Jelamsem, Programme Manager, Plateau Agricultural Development Programme (PADP) promised to provide technical assistance to the beneficiaries in addition to strict monitoring of their farms to ensure judicious utilisation of the inputs.
“I think you should count yourself among a privileged group of people.
“Now, on our part and on behalf of the Federal Department of Agricultural Extension, the PADP will be monitoring your farms.
“I have everybody’s contact information on my phone; so, if you are thinking about not farming, just tell us.
“We will expect you to keep records, for instance, of the maze, the day you tilled the ground, the day you planted, and the size of the farm.
“Because instead of going to look for a new set of people, we would want to push these people to a particular level in your agribusiness so they will come back and get the next,” he said.
Mr Michael Brooks, FDAE Director, represented by Dorathy Botar, explained that the beneficiaries were diligently enumerated and validated for participation in the transformative programme.
Brooks encouraged the beneficiaries not to give up in spite of the numerous challenges, which included insecurity and others.