Smallholder farmers in Oyo State have received different categories of Kenaf, yam and cocoa seedlings as part of the Federal Government’s coronavirus pandemic palliative.
The distribution in Ibadan at the Federal Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Development office, Moore Plantation, Ibadan, was supervised by the Minister of State for Agriculture, Mr Mustapha Baba Shehuri, accompanied by Oyo State governor, Mr Seyi Makinde.
Shehuri said the distribution of farm inputs was to cushion the effect of COVID-19 on smallholders’ livelihood and avert food scarcity in Nigeria by 2021.
Shehuri said the ministry’s intervention was part of the Federal Government’s plan to sustain agricultural production, increase the resilience of farmers and enhance the national food systems.
Items handed over to the state government included 19,672 kilograms of Kenaf foundation seeds, 12 metric tonnes of foundation seeds for yam farmers, 18,000 kilogrammes of organic insecticides for maize farmers and part of 66,000 cocoa seedlings being distributed to farmers nationwide.
Shehuri, however, pointed out that while seeds were being given to farmers free of charge, other inputs were being distributed at 75 per cent subsidy.
Governor Seyi Makinde lauded the decision of the Federal Government to support the state farmers, especially when they grappled with the effects of COVID-19 on their means livelihood.
As part of the government’s intents, Makinde said the state was determined to revamp the Eruwa and Akufo farm settlements, finance the construction of silo in Awe and construct several rural roads, especially those that would enhance agriculture.
He asked the Federal Government to concede the Ikere Gorge Dam to the state for optimal utilisation of the facility for the development of agribusiness.
Makinde also demanded that the state be included in the Federal Government’s agricultural projects in mechanization and fixing of federal roads that link agricultural communities with markets.