Ahmad Aliyu Sokoto, governor of Sokoto State has highlighted insecurity as the major concern affecting farming activities in the state.
The governor disclosed this on Friday, during his visit to Abubakar Kyari, the minister of agriculture and food security, in Abuja.
According to him, many farmers have abandoned their farmlands for fear of insecurity, leading to shortage in food production.
“Our major concern in Sokoto State as far as food production is concerned is banditry affecting some parts of the state, without security farmers cannot go to the farm.
“Some farmers have had to abandon their farms,” he said.
The governor, seeking support of the Federal government to boost food production said that there was need to strategise on how to identify genuine farmers in the state.
He decried the activities of ‘political farmers, which according to him sabotage the efforts made by the government to boost food production through interventions.
“So another reason why I’m here is to seek for your support and to see how we can collaborate so that we can work together and achieve one of the desired result for Mr. President to provide support to all our farmers.
“Identification of genuine farmers is very important to address the situation whereby you a spend billions of naira just to subsidies Agriculture and somebody use the opportunity to enrich himself.
“I want to share with you that the Sokoto state government will establish a committee under the Minister of Agriculture to collaborate with the Ministry of innovation and digital economy so that we can put a mechanism to identify the genuine farmers in the state. Without this, the government support cannot get to the real farmers,” he said.
In his remarks, the Abubakar Kyari, the minister of Agriculture and Food Security commended the progress made in the agricultural sector of Sokoto state.
He expressed optimism for possibilities ahead, stressing on the need to leverage on the lessons learnt from the first phase of the Dry Season Food Production which began with Wheat in 15 participating state including Sokoto.
“Your visit is a substantiation of the strong partnership and collaboration we are striving to build between the states and the federal government in our collective efforts to ensure food security and agricultural development in Nigeria.
“We are aware, that the agricultural sector in Sokoto state has experienced remarkable achievements since your administration came to office. Your efforts towards the provision of Agricultural Input Support to farmers in the State is well noted.
“Distribution of assorted fertilizer to farmers for free in all the 23 Local Government across the state, provision of free assorted seeds and agro chemical to farmers for the 2023/2024 dry season farming and the recently constructed 450 hectares Kware Irrigation Scheme (with payment of compensation to the affected farmers) attests to progressive governance and then makes it a statement of fact that Sokoto has a Frontline Position in the Renewed Hope for Food Security Agenda of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu,” he said.
Speaking further, the minister, the minister explained that the government is dedicated to implementing stringent measures in the forthcoming Dry/Wet Season Farming for Rice, Maize, and Cassava, to ensure transparent distribution of agro-inputs and targeting genuine farmers adding that collaboration with states, local governments, traditional rulers, NGOs, and relevant MDAs will be crucial in achieving this goal.
For him, it is imperative to take the lessons learnt during the review of the implementation of the Wheat Dry Season Farming in the 15 participating states and ensure that they add quantifiable value to our agricultural development agenda.
“To that effect the expression of Interest for the dry season production of rice, maize and cassava sent to all the 36 states and FCT captures a design structure that speaks to farmers’ data integrity, inventory of available irrigable lands as well as functional irrigation infrastructure with the primary aim of determining the readiness of participating states. We are already getting responses from some states.”