By Nudoiba Ojen
The Federal Government is to partner state and local governments to generate list of genuine and verifiable farmers in the various states in order to know the real farmers across the country.
The Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Abukakar Kyari, said this 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.
Kyari made the disclosure in Abuja during a meeting with Katsina State Governor, Dikko Radda.
He 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. 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 so doing 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 to do.”
“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 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 achieving 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.”
The Katsina State governor, Radda, said 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.
He said 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.
“We all know the dangers of an idle mind, which is why we are making effort to engage them through the provision of inputs for dry season farming in Katsina State,” Radda stated.
He said 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.