No fewer than 16,000 farmers in Sokoto State will receive free improved seeds and subsidised agricultural inputs, the state government has announced.
The Sokoto State Commissioner for Agriculture, Alhaji Aminu Abubakar, announced this on Sunday in Sokoto at the Agricultural Store in Kasarawa, Wamakko Local Government Area of the State. He spoke when the Legacy Projects Peer Review Team visiting the state to inspect the projects executed by Gov. Aminu Tambuwal-led administration in the state was at the store.
Abubakar listed the inputs to include water pumping machines for irrigation, assorted fertiliser, insecticides, herbicides, tomatoes paste processing equipment, rice milling and processing machines, among others.
The improved seedlings according to him will include rice, wheat and tomatoes, among others.
He noted that the subsidised inputs and seeds would be distributed across the 23 local government areas of the states to boost agricultural production.
“Recently, we entered into collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria ( CBN) on Commercial Agricultural Scheme and that project cost more than N4 billion.
“What we have here are the materials that are going to be given to farmers of three crops that are going to be promoted across the state.
“The crops are 60 per cent rice, 30 per cent, wheat and 10 per cent tomatoes.
”These are done to help our complete value chain, that is from the farmers to up-takers, and even to the processors.
“The inputs supplies are already in stock and list of the benefiting farmers had already been generated.
“Very soon, we are going to distribute these facilities to the farmers.
“You can see that Sokoto State has been transformed into a rice producing state and wheat had also followed suit,” he said.
He said that some of the inputs already stocked for the programmes were more than 37,000 of 50kg bags of NPK fertiliser, 1,500 pumping machines, more than 30 milling machines, more than 600 insecticides sprayers, while more inputs were still being expected. Abubakar said that the state governor had been involved in several intervention programmes for the agricultural sector, including subsidising fertiliser, loans and palliatives to farmers to boost agricultural production.
He recalled that in 2021, the state government sold a bag of NPK fertiliser to the farmers for N4,000, noting that the current market price is about N12,000.
“We sold urea at a cost of N5,500 and the cost of urea in the market is N18,000.
“This subsidy cut across the 23 local government areas.
”The same thing is going to happen with these 16,000 farmers that are going to benefit from this project.
“We have three categories of these farmers — the large scale farmers, the medium scale farmers, and the small scale farmers.
“These are going to constitute the 16,000 farmers,” he said.
Abubakar said that the state government had put in place measures to ensure that the farm inputs were not diverted by setting up different committees in all the processes involved in the distribution.
Abubakar noted that the state also has its Commodity Board to ensure that when the up-takers disappointed the farmers, “government buys over everything they produced.
“The whole aim of this project is to alleviate poverty, generate employment to our youthd and teeming farmers and to improve on our food productivity.
“This is more so in the case of millet, rice, sorghum, tomato onion, wheat and rice.
“In Sokoto State today, on daily basis, more than 60 trucks of onions are being exported and that is not magic, it has to be an enabling environment that had been provided for the farmers”.