The Kaduna State Chapter of All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) has commended the Federal Government for subsidising inputs for dry season farming.
Alhaji Nuhu Aminu, the state AFAN Chairman, who made the commendation in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Zaria, however, said subsequent distribution of the inputs should be made early.
He said that the implementation of the National Agricultural Growth Scheme and Agro Pocket (NAGS-AP) initiative has been well handled so far, and urged the government to sustain and up-scale the initiative to strengthen food security and job creation.
NAN reports that the NAGS-AP targets smallholder farmers to enhance food production in Nigeria.
The chairman added that the recent distribution of inputs to wheat farmers through the NAGS-AP, indicated a promising result in wheat production in the country.
“Under the initiative, the Federal Government subsidises dry season wheat farming inputs by 50 per cent under its National Agricultural Growth Scheme and Agro Pocket (NAGS-AP) initiative.
“For dry season wheat farming, a beneficiary is required to deposit N180,500, representing 50 per cent of the total cost of the inputs to qualify for the subsidy.
“Over 90 per cent of the beneficiaries had redeemed their inputs and planted the wheat within time; the government intervention has greatly augmented their personal efforts,’’ Aminu said.
The AFAN chairman said to sustain the likely gains, government must ensure early distribution of inputs in subsequent programmes covered by NAGS-AP, which include rice, maize, and other commodities.
Aminu also said government should create additional windows where a farmer who needs inputs for half a hectare can get, instead of only those cultivating a hectare as presently captured under the NAGS-AP.
According to him, this will encourage more smallholder farmers to key into the initiative.
Aminu further said federal and state governments should work closely to ensure that only genuine farmers benefit from the programme.
He explained there was a little mix-up during the disbursement of wheat farming inputs where names of members of other commodities associations who did not apply, got redemption codes for wheat farming inputs.
“This explained the need for more close working relationship between the states and federal government,’’ Aminu said.
The chairman said the initiative was in line with the yearning of AFAN on empowering smallholder farmers, who are the largest food producers in Nigeria.
“The NAGS-AP prevents farmers from becoming debtors and other exploitations experienced during the Anchor Borrowers Scheme; it links farmers with genuine improved seeds and other inputs, as well as agro-dealers,” he added. (NAN)