By Mosunmola Ayobami,Kwara
Kwara State Governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq on Wednesday launched an agricultural input subsidy scheme that would give at least 10,000 farmers access to various inputs at 50% market price.
The governor expressed that the step aligns with the state’s strategic plan for food security and sustainable development.
He told farmers in Ilorin, the state capital, that the intervention became necessary to compensate for their loss to the Covid-19 pandemic in the last farming season, and to boost food production in the state.
“This subsidy scheme gives our farmers easy access to certified seeds, assorted fertilisers and herbicides for the 2021 planting season at 50% market price.
“This initiative is part of the administration’s sustained efforts to use agriculture to drive economic growth and food security in the post-Covid-19 pandemic era.
“I assure you that mechanisms have been put in place, especially reliable data, to ensure that these inputs get only to the intended farmers.
“This programme is basically to improve productivity. We have to bring this subsidy because our farmers went through a lot of hardship last year with COVID-19.
“So, we needed to step in to enable them to get fertilisers, improved seedlings and herbicides to boost production.
“It is not just about food security in Kwara State but in Nigeria as a whole.
“Farmers are farming largely without any problem in Kwara. We only need to support them.
“The aim is to achieve food security in Nigeria, not just Kwara. From animal husbandry to all other facets of agriculture.”
“Kwara is also working out a partnership with the Lagos State government on rice production which may see roughly N10billion investments over the next four years.
“We have the land. We are negotiating with some states, especially Lagos state. Lagos has arguably the biggest rice mill in Nigeria today, but they don’t have land. We want to take advantage of that and we are talking in that direction to have an MOU.
“And then, the federal government is working with us. We are working on the special agro-processing zone to be located in Lata which will see the investment of about N10billion going to agriculture in Edu and Patigi local governments alone in the next two to four years; so we need to scale up what we are doing in those areas,” AbdulRazaq said
He urged the farmers to make good use of the opportunity to have a more rewarding farming experience this year, adding that the efforts will lead to better outcomes and improved livelihood across the state.
speaking also, Kwara State House of Assembly Committee Chairman on Agriculture Hon. Ojo Olayiwola commended the state government for placing a high premium on the agricultural sector with several supports to farmers in the state.