In a bid to improve the lives of farmers and reduce poverty in the country, the Federal Government has distributed about 230,000 bags of fertilizers directly to farmers where they are needed most.
This was disclosed in Abuja last week at the official launch of Agricultural Empowerment Programme for Rural Farmers across the country by the First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan.
According to her, the event was the outcome of a strong collaborative effort between the Women for Change Initiative, the Cellulant Group and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Office aimed specifically at improving access to critical agricultural inputs.
In her remarks, the Special Special Assistant to the President on MDGs, Dr. Precious Gbeneol, noted that the intervention was expected to improve farm yields, enhance food security and change the economic landscape of rural communities.
Gbeneol enjoined all beneficiaries of the intervention project to ensure judicious use of the input, “ it is in so doing that there will be an improvement in the way we live”.
According to her, the MDGs Office, in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, will implement high impact intervention at the grassroots since it has been established that the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger is central to the efforts to attain all the other MDGs.
She stressed that the collaboration has led to the improvement in the value chains of more than ten crops, with capacity development for women and youths as well as the provision of basic farm infrastructure and agricultural inputs.
The SSAP stated that the MDGs Office was implementing an innovative conditional cash transfer scheme, which adopts a multi-faceted approach in its engagement with the issues of hunger and poverty reduction.
This scheme engages low-income households across the states of the federation with the provision of the sum of N100,000 as seed grant to start up an agricultural enterprise as an exit strategy.
She said, the condition for the release of the sum was the completion of a 3-month training in an agricultural business, adding that the MDGs Conditional Grants Scheme is funding agricultural cooperatives in local government areas (LGAs) across the country which are structured to address targeted value chains in the different regions that demonstrate the greatest marginal return in the output of agricultural produce.
Gbeneol noted that the aim of the intervention was to create capacity at the local government level to maximize the productive capacity of local co-operatives in order to augment the interventions being made by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Source : SunOnline