Thursday, February 15, 2024

Nigeria to remove ‘political farmers’ from database

The federal government, on Wednesday, announced that it is making efforts to modify farmers’ databases to get rid of “political farmers” as it plans to kick off the second phase of dry season farming.

The Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Abubakar Kyari, disclosed this in a maiden press briefing organised by the Minister of Information and National Orientation to regain public confidence.

According to him, only genuine farmers will benefit from government-subsidised interventions.

PREMIUM TIMES reported that the Bola Tinubu administration earlier announced that a lot of agricultural policies meant for farmers were enjoyed by ‘political farmers’: persons linked to politicians but who were not real farmers.

Last year, the ministry launched the first phase of dry season farming under the National Agricultural Growth Scheme Agro-Pocket (NAGS-AP) project. The first phase focused on 15 wheat-growing states.

I50,000 hectares of rice to be cultivated in second phase

Mr Kyari said following a key evaluation of the first phase of dry season farming, measures have been taken to ensure the success of the subsequent phase.

He said 150,000 hectares of rice would be cultivated during the second phase, noting that 300,000 genuine farmers are targeted for this. The farmers, he said, would benefit from the government’s subsidised interventions such as fertilisers, herbicides and micronutrients among others.

According to him, the farmers would get three bags of these agro-inputs for free after purchasing half bags.

In addition, he said, 30,000 hectares of maize would be cultivated across the 36 states of the federation. The minister expressed optimism, noting that some state governors have shown interest in the scheme.

Mr Kyari also clarified that 42,000 metric tonnes of grains earmarked for distribution to vulnerable households would be at no cost.

“The 42,000 metric tonnes of food from the national food reserves is free,” he clarified. “We’re trying to crash down the prices of food and make it available.”

“So these 42,000 metric tonnes of food will be given to the needy free of charge. It would go directly to the needy at no cost at all.

“We’ve met with the DSS and NEMA to give us the index. This is to gather intelligence on where it is needed the most, and we are going to look at those indices,” Mr Kyari added.

Idris unveils five-pillar agenda to regain public confidence

In his remarks, the information minister, Muhammed Idris, said his ministry has developed a five-pillar agenda in line with President Bola Tinubu’s Renewed Hope vision.

Mr Idris said the agenda is targeted at restoring trust, amplifying policies and programmes, reorienting national values, modernizing technology and talent, and creating an enabling environment for the media.

“The Ministerial Press Briefing Series (MPBS) that we are kicking off today, are in line with our ‘Restore Trust’ and ‘Amplify Policies and Programmes’ pillars. This is a chance for you, the distinguished members of the press, to engage with senior officials of the federal government, on behalf of the good people of Nigeria,” the minister told journalists.

“You will hear first-hand about what the federal government is doing, policies, programmes, targets and objectives, and you will be able to ask questions and receive relevant clarifications. We have also made efforts to ensure that this Briefing Series receives the widest possible coverage, through traditional and digital platforms,” the minister explained.

Mr Idris said the ministry is “determined to restore trust, confidence and credibility to public communications, by engaging in a timely, proactive and consistent fashion with all our stakeholders, across government, the media, private sector and international community, deploying all available platforms and media.”

He noted that the press briefing will subsequently feature other ministers who will be brought before the press to highlight the government’s efforts in stabilising the country.

ByYakubu Mohammed, Premium Times

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