The Federal Government on Wednesday has taken steps to increase production of wheat, rice, maize, sorghum and soyabean, through the provision of relevant farm inputs.
Dr Ernest Umakhihe, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, stated this at the stakeholders meeting for the implementation of National Agricultural Growth Scheme and Agro-pocket (NAGs -AP) in Abuja.
He said the other relevant farm inputs provided were fertilizers, seeds, agro-chemicals among others to small scale farmers under both wet and dry season farming.
Umakhihe was represented by Dr Ibrahim Tanimu, Director, Planning and Policy Coordination of the ministry.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that the NAGs -AP was an ICT-based platform for the delivery of farm inputs such as fertilizers, seeds, agro-chemicals and others to the farmers across the country.
Umakhihe said the goal of the National Agricultural Growth Scheme (NAGS), was to increase food production to crash the continued rise in the prices of agricultural commodities.
“The key objective is to increase the production of wheat, rice, maize, sorghum and soyabean through the provision of relevant farm inputs such as fertilizers, seeds, agro-chemicals among others to small scale farmers.
” Specifically, the project is targeted to support over 250,000 wheat farmers with relevant farm inputs to cultivate about 250,000 hectares with expected output of 1,250,000 metric tons of wheat.
“This is to be added to the food reserve with a view to reducing dependence on foreign importation of the product, and increase domestic consumption particularly for the flour millers,” he said.
The permanent secretary added that the project, aside supporting farmers with critical farm inputs for the production of the priority crops, would also provide institutional support for better performances.
Earlier, the Director, Department of Farm Inputs Support Services, Ministry of Agriculture, Mr Mohammad Sani, said NAGS scheme was re-introduced to address the yearnings of the different value chain players.
He said the ministry would continue to partner relevant organisations in order to help farmers attain their desired goals and increase conducive business environment for input operators to flour.
Sani was represented by Mr Francis Adole, Director II, Department of Farm Inputs Support Services.
In his remark, Mr Ibrahim Arabi, National Programme Coordinator, Agricultural Transformation Agenda Support Phase I (ATASP-1), said the meeting was organised to sensitize the farmers and fashion out the way forward in the implementation of NAGS-AP.
” The capacity to produce needs to increase across the value chain, hence this meeting which is on the strategy for supporting farmers with subsidised inputs and also with the institutional capacity for increased productivity,” he said.