• Friday, March 01, 2024
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FG, AFEX kick off dry season production in Jigawa

Seyi John Salau

The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security has partnered AFEX to kick off dry season farming in Jigawa state.

The move, according to a statement by AFEX, is to increase farmers’ capacity for higher productivity in its quest to address food shortage challenges.

“The dry season production is an essential step for the food security of the nation and enhancing agricultural productivity during this period plays a significant role in bridging the gap between food demand and supply and adds significantly to our ability to meet the needs of the Nigerian populace,” the statement said.

It noted that Nigeria’s patterns and unpredictable rainfall makes dry season farming and production difficult, coupled with challenges across inadequate inputs, lack of access to irrigated land, high cost of equipment and insufficient financing.

The federal ministry through the National Agricultural Growth Scheme and Agro-pocket (NAGs-AP), and funded by the African Development Bank, has sought to address these challenges, and increase the production of 5 key commodities: rice, maize, sorghum, wheat and soybean through the provision of relevant farm inputs to small-scale farmers during both the wet and dry seasons.

Among the immediate interventions is the implementation of the dry season wheat production starting in November, and this scheme “is expected to produce 875,000 metric tonnes of wheat,” the statement noted.

As the official ICT provider for the NAGs-AP program, AFEX is leveraging its technology infrastructure to develop and manage the process from onboarding farmers to redemption of inputs.

During the event, AFEX demonstrated its innovative input collection and redemption technology, highlighting how it streamlines the process for farmers to access essential agricultural inputs.

Speaking at the flag off event, Ishaku Buba, national project coordinator, NAGs-AP, said, “The launch of the dry season production stands as a testament to our unwavering commitment to securing the nation’s food supply.

“We are deeply grateful for the collaboration and support of stakeholders across the industry, and AFEX’s demonstration highlights the pivotal role of technological innovation in enhancing agricultural productivity.”

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“This event symbolises not just the commencement of the dry season but also embodies the spirit of collaboration within the agriculture industry. Together, stakeholders are working tirelessly to achieve sustained food security for the nation,” he added.

Kamaldeen Raji, managing director, AFEX Fair Trade Limited, said that increasing productivity lies at the center of solving Nigeria’s food shortage challenges for AFEX, “and we are enthusiastic about this administration’s commitment to bolstering farmer productivity through this initiative.

“In layering technology over this process, we are creating a sustainable model that delivers value for stakeholders in the value chain.”

AFEX’s commitment to leveraging technology aligns with the broader goal of enhancing productivity for farmers and strengthening the agricultural sector in Nigeria, the statement pointed.

By facilitating efficient input access, AFEX empowers farmers to increase their yields and improve their livelihoods.

“The dry season production flag-off event marks a pivotal step in public-private partnership to achieving food security and enhancing the value of the agriculture sector in Nigeria, and AFEX’s involvement in the initiative underscores its dedication to transforming the agricultural landscape through innovation and technology,” the statement said.

AFEX is a platform business that enables efficient trade for commodities in Africa.