…Partners AfDB, CBN
As a result of the remediation plans of the Sokoto state government to cushion the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the perennial flooding experienced during this year’s rainy season, a relief package totalling N7.696 billion has been declared.
A breakdown of the package on Wednesday revealed that the state government in collaboration with the African Development Bank (AfDB) has awarded a N3.5 billion contract to Messrs CGC Nig limited for the complete rehabilitation of a 95 years old fallow 450 hectares Kware irrigation scheme in Kware local government area of the state.
This is in addition to an arrangement the state government reached with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for the disbursement of N4 billion loan to tomato, rice and wheat farmers in the state under the apex bank’s Commercial Agricultural Credit Scheme (CACS).
In the same vein, the state government has spent ₦196 million on the purchase of wheat seed, improved maize seeds, agro-chemicals, sprayers and two brands of fertilizers, some of which were distributed free of charge while others were sold to the farmers at subsidized rate.
Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal disclosed these Wednesday in Marabawa village at the official flag-off the 2020 dry season wheat production programme and handing over of the irrigation scheme site to the contractors.
According to the governor, the gesture is in response to the recommendations submitted by the Kilgori committee established to assess the losses encountered by the farmers communities as a result of COVID-19 pandemic and flood experienced during the rainy season.
”The COVID-19 pandemic and flooding experienced in some parts of the state had touched every aspect of our social and economic activities particularly food security in the state and the country at large” he added.
The governor called on all serving and retired civil servants, government chief executives, politicians, business executives and other well meaning Sokoto State indigenes to leverage on these golden opportunity so that together in order to move state from subsistence agriculture to agribusiness level.
He assured that his administration is committed to ensuring that more irrigation schemes are rehabilitated and developed to support all year round cultivation of both cash and food crops in the state.
His assurance was not given to wheat farmers alone but other dry season farmers affected by the 2020 wet season flood disaster, who he said will also benefit from improved seeds of cereals, tubers, roots and other vegetables such as tomato, carrot, onion, watermelon, garlic and pepper etc. as part of the government’s effort to cushion the effect of the flood disaster.
He also maintained that in consideration of state’s potentials in wheat production and in line with the Federal Government policy of increasing the domestic production of wheat to increase the income of smallholder farmers and reduce the importation of the commodity, adequate arrangement has been made with the State Wheat Farmers Association of Nigeria (WFAN) and Flour Millers Association of Nigeria (FMAN) to commence the production of wheat in the 2020/2021 dry season.
Tambuwal also assured the good people of Sokoto State that government will continue to deliver on its promises in both agricultural and non-agricultural sectors of the economy with a view to ensure self sufficiency in food and other agro-industrial materials, create wealth and generate employment for women and youths through agricultural transformations.
In his address the Commissioner of Agriculture Alhaji Arzika Tureta, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Umar Muhammad Wali, said the state government spent billions of naira to improve the agricultural sector in the state.
He thanked Governor Tambuwal for all the support and cooperation given to the ministry.