The Federal Government, on Tuesday, asked state governments to provide genuine and verifiable farmers’ lists in their various domains in order to know who the real farmers are in the states.
The Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Abukakar Kyari, made the request while hosting the Governor of Katsina State, Dikko Radda, at the headquarters of the agriculture ministry in Abuja, on Tuesday.
He disclosed that the demand for verified farmers lists was part of measures to meet the target of cultivating crops on 500,000 hectares of farmlands across the country as directed by President Bola Tinubu to ensure food security in Nigeria.
He however pledged that his ministry would surpass the target set by the President noting that during his new year address, Tinubu said the Federal Government would cultivate about 500,000 hectares of farmlands to combat hunger nationwide.
Kyari said, “It is no gain saying that we are out to achieve Mr President’s agenda on food security, poverty reduction and job creation. This is in addition to achieving what Mr President read out in his New Year address of cultivating 500,000 hectares of arable land this year.
“We are committed and we are also assuring our citizens that we are going to even exceed Mr President’s target. We are committed to doing that. And first things first, we have to collaborate with the states and Local Governments to come up with a genuine and verifiable farmers’ list.
“This is very important because we have to know who the real farmers are, and by doing so we have to collaborate with the local authorities and the state governments, so that they can buy into our programme and we also succeed in what we set out to do.”
The minister stated that in addition to this, “we are going to set up, both from our own side and from the states’ side, a task force to make sure that this programme is successful.
“Some of the things we have discussed earlier such as the land tripping issues, lack of verifiable data, inability of farmers to come up with their own portions because of the precarious economic situation that we find ourselves, I think when we collaborate with the front line states, we will come up with a very successful programme.”
Kyari said Katsina State had commenced some programmes that were in line with the Federal Government’s drive towards ensuring food security.
He said, “Recently, the governor launched the first phase of the dry season farming in Katsina State by providing so many inputs ranging from solar water pumps and other implements to assist farmers in the state.
“Just like Jigawa, Katsina is also one of the front line states in the quest to achieve the food security agenda of Mr President. The states include Katsina, Niger, Jigawa, Kano, Kebbi, Zamfara, Sokoto, especially in the dry season wheat and rice programmes that we have for this year, as well as maize and cassava.”
Responding, the governor agreed to the fact that Katsina had provided inputs to enable farmers cultivate crops in the dry season, stressing that 90 per cent of citizens in his state were farmers.
Radda explained that the insecurity in the North had been fueled by the fact that youths in the region had just about four months to farm, particularly during the wet season, noting that most of them remained idle for the remaining eight months.
He said: “We all know the dangers of an idle mind, which is why we are making an effort to engage them through the provision of inputs for dry season farming in Katsina State,” Radda stated.
He added that the state government had commenced irrigation farming, and promised the agriculture minister that his state would provide the required data for farmers in Katsina as requested by the Federal Government.