The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has put in place an Input Support Initiative strategy aimed at increasing access to critical agricultural inputs to support all year farming in Abuja.
Mr Austine Elemue, Special Assistant on Media to the FCT Minister of State, Dr Ramatu Aliyu, said this in a statement on Friday in Abuja.
Elemue explained that Aliyu made the disclosure at the inauguration of agricultural inputs distribution to small-holder farmers in Abuja, organised by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
The minister was represented by her Senior Assistant on Agriculture and Rural Development, Malam Abdul Agbadi.
Aliyu said that the distribution of the inputs, such as fertilisers, agro-chemicals, pesticides, feeds and irrigation equipment was part of palliative to cushion the effect of COVID-19 in the FCT.
She also revealed that under the programme, the FCT administration provides 50 per cent subsidies on all inputs.
The minister affirmed that the policy thrust of the present administration under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, was human capacity development.
According to her, the policy lays emphasis on adopting strategies that would help facilitate the growth of small businesses through improvements in agriculture and land.
Aliyu said this was fundamental in addressing the plight of vulnerable groups and the attainment of food security.
She maintained that in the FCT Administration, the core agricultural policy was the implementation of grassroots developmental programmes that were targeted at harnessing the vast arable land mass.
According to her, with a large percentage of small-holder farmers, the FCT Administration has put in place an input support initiative which is a strategy that is aimed at increasing access of farmers to critical agricultural inputs.
She said the inputs included fertilisers, agro-chemicals, pesticides, feeds, irrigation equipment to support all year farming amongst others.
“It is no longer news that Nigeria’s agricultural sector has been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Therefore, we must use every opportunity to proffer measures on how to better support all the production systems towards mitigating the impact of the pandemic.
“We must evolve better strategies to build on what we have already been doing in our different ways and synergise efforts towards our collective desire to attain food security.
“There is no better time to act than now,” she said.
Aliyu commended the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and other critical stakeholders for the distribution of inputs to small-holder farmers aimed at cushioning the impact of COVID-19.
The minister noted that with the pandemic, Nigerians must begin to chart a new course for the agricultural sector which plays a crucial role in the economic growth of any nation.