The Federal Government on Thursday, rolled out the distribution of agricultural inputs to about 7,500 smallholder women farmers from the North Central States and the Federal Capital Territory.

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Muhammad Nanono, who made this known in Abuja during the event, said the inputs was part of the mitigation measures against the effect of COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is my pleasure to be here with you today to roll out the distribution of agricultural inputs to about 7,500 smallholder women farmers from North Central States and the FCT.

“As you may be aware, one of the cardinal points of this administration is to increase production and reduce wastage.

“To achieve this, there is a deliberate policy of 35 per cent inclusion of women in all the ministry’s activities.

“However, today’s activity is different because it is an all women affair to alleviate the impact of COVID–19 pandemic on them.

“It is also to commemorate the International Women’s Day 2021 with theme: Choose to Challenge.

“Today, the ministry is supporting about 7, 500 women with value kits (planting materials, growth enhancer and agro-chemicals) in yam, cassava, potatoes, soybean, rice, maize, sesame, ginger, sorghum/millet, cowpea and horticultural crops.

“In addition, nutritional value kits will be distributed to the women today. The choice of the crops is based on comparative advantage to its production.

“Again, because women are disadvantaged in land inheritance in Nigeria, the use of sacks and vertical farming are being popularised and the techniques will be demonstrated.

“The ministry, besides the distribution of inputs to the women, is also distributing production and processing equipment in an effort to reduce drudgery, improve efficiency, reduce cost of production and improve quality of product and produce from the operations.

“This will also assist them in building production assets that they can ordinarily not be able to afford,” he said.

The minister urged the beneficiaries to make judicious use of the inputs, materials and equipment to produce quality food for the nation.

“I also call on other stakeholders to provide similar support to farmers so that together we can defeat hunger and poverty in the country and become self-sufficient in food and raw material production as well as mitigate some of the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.

The FCT Minister, Alhaji Mohammed Bello, acknowledged the resilience of the hard-working Nigeria women farmers.

He said that the event was significant as it would alleviate the hardship caused by COVID-19 pandemic.

“The event today signifies the building of the local economy, the roll out of the agricultural inputs will enable our women scale up agriculture to improve productivity,” he said.

Also, the Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen, who expressed happiness for the inputs, noted that history was being made at the event because it was an answered prayer for the women.

The minister, who called on all women in positions to support other women, thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for the initiative to cushion the effect of the pandemic.

Mrs Mary Afan, the National of the Small-Scale Women Farmers Organisation of Nigeria (SWOFON) assured the minister of agriculture that they would ensure increased production to boost food security.

She urged the Federal Government to improve on security on the farms to increase food production.

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