The Bauchi State governor, Bala Mohammed, has flagged off the 2023 farming season activities in Azare, Katagum Local Government Area of the state. Speaking at the event, the governor said his administration had diversified the economic sector of the state to ensure food security, assuring that the agricultural sector would continue to receive prioritised attention from the government.
Meanwhile, it had been predicted that for most parts of the country, planting season would start towards the end of May 2023 and warned that there may be flooding in some parts of the country. “I want to draw the attention of our farmers to this year’s farming seasonal rainfall prediction (SRP) by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet)”, he stated. The governor urged farmers to be prepared and make good use of the NiMet prediction to avoid planting in areas that are prone to flooding.
Governor Mohammed lamented the influx and effects of armyworms that was recorded in some parts of the state at the beginning of last year’s farming season. He noted that the occurrence resulted in many farms recording destruction, adding that concerted efforts have been put in place by the state government to control the invasion through a rapid spray. He said, “In order to avoid the recurrence of the incident this year, the Ministry of Agriculture has been directed to immediately make requirements and other measures to control the armyworm menace”.
He directed that fertilizers be sold directly to farmers to guard against shylock marketers, adding that adequate and subsidised fertilizer and other farming implements had been made available to meet the growing demands of farmers across the state, adding that the production of the commodities would continue into next year. “Furthermore, the government will provide the fertilizer on loan to interested civil servants in the state to be paid in installments through direct deduction from the source, if they so wish”, he said. According to him, the opportunity is to encourage farming and self-employment among the civil servants in the state in order to enhance their economic strength.
He said that the Ministry of Agriculture had been directed to ensure that fertilizers are taken to each district and ward to facilitate easy accessibility by farmers. The governor stated that NPK fertilizer would be sold to farmers at N15,000 against the production cost of N17,800. He maintained that the gesture was meant to ease the financial burden on farmers when accessing the commodity, as Mohammed directed the ministry to monitor all negative tendencies related to the sales and distribution process.
The governor also directed the Ministry of Agriculture to prepare a proposal for the employment of agricultural extension workers and other agriculture-related personnel, that would complement the government’s efforts in ensuring a successful farming year. Meanwhile, the governor expressed concerns that many farmers lacked the required experience with modern farming techniques. The Commissioner for Agriculture, Barr. Jidauna Mbami, while addressing farmers, appealed to them to adhere to the NiMet’s prediction of low rainfall in some parts of the country. On his part, the Bauchi state Chairman of the All Farmers Association if Nigeria (AFAN), Alhaji Yusuf Gambo, commended the state government for providing subsidised fertilizers and other farming inputs, noting that the gesture would go a long way in encouraging large-scale farming across the state.