Minister of Budget and National Planning, Atiku Bagudu, Sunday, highlighted that challenges facing agriculture go beyond insecurity to include high cost of fuel.
During a session with the Senate Committees on Finance, Appropriation, Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions, warned of five councils where 70 per cent of their assigned land might not be cultivated due to fuel cost.
His words: “From our perspectives, particularly from Budget and Planning, there are places today in about 18 states in the country where you can still plant rice for the dry season farming, including the constituency of chairman of the National Planning (Commission). In five Local Governments, where care is not taken, not for reasons of insecurity, 70 per cent of the planted area might not be cultivated because of fuel cost.”
He said the same thing obtains in Senator Adamu Aliero’s constituency and a few other places.
The immediately past governor of Kebbi State added: “So, balancing of the reforms and ensuring necessary measures have to be urgently implemented for impact and benefit.
His Agriculture and Food Security counterpart, Abubakar Kiyari, said food security affordability are being challenged.
He attributed the first challenge to COVID19, which impacted on agriculture and all other sectors.
At the same time, the minister acknowledged that the 2021 flooding, as well the currency redesign of 2022 and 2023 negatively impacted harvest.
He noted: “In early 2023 when farmers were just preparing for planting, they had no cash anywhere.
“Access to capital for farmers is very key, in addition to an exiting government that did not plan to do wet season cultivation for 2023. I don’t think there was any impact or any intervention against the 2023 cultivation, and that also impacted on the quantum of harvest in 2023.” Glitters reports
“We have had two programsme. The wheat programme in which Jigawa has a lot of impact and 14 other states, but the second phase of rice that is just about to roll out now, is being challenged now in terms of fuel and input because we have seen some of the challenges that the farmers face in the 2023 wheat programme. Even though government subsidised input by 50 per cent, it was a tall order for farmers to come up with their own portion.
“So what we are trying to do is to bridge that gap. We don’t want to make it a situation where it will be viewed as other programmes in the past, where they felt it as a largess.”
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