By Stanley Onyekwere
The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Malam Muhammad Musa Bello has reiterated reiterated support for large scale farming, in order to boost drive for food security in the Territory.
Bello particularly assured that the FCT Administration was ready to encourage those involved and interested in large scale farming activities in the nation’s capital city.
He added that it has equally given rebate for all farm infrastructure like large buildings and other heavy inputs as would be worked out with the Department of Development Control.
The Minister, who spoke while flagging off this years FCT farming season, said the Administration once again gave a discount of 50% for all inputs purchased there, which will continue through out the farming season till when the products run out.
Represented by the Executive Secretary, Federal Capital Development Authority(FCDA), Engr. Umar Gambo Jibrin, the FCT Minister described this year’s this event as an improvement of last year’s, as several innovations have been introduced.
Also speaking at the occasion that took place in the Abuja Old Parade Ground, Area 10, Garki Abuja, Secretary, Agricultural and Rural Development Secretariat (ARDS), Stanley Nzekwe said subsided farm inputs for this year’s planting season have been streamlined and regulated.
Nzekwe said the initiative was to prevent a situation in the past when middlemen pay and collect bulk products only to resell at high prices.
He explained that those who need large quantities of fertilizers because of the size of their farm will have to go to manufacturers as sales have been restricted to between one to three bags.
The ARDS boss said that to ensure that rural farmers benefit from sale of subsidised fertilizers, the FCTA through ARDS has discentralised the sale into six d istribution centres: Gwagwalada, Gwagwa, Kwali, Tungan Maje and Bwari.
He said farmers should buy through their various village heads and community leaders and monarchs who will identify them or facilitate the purchase.
Nzekwe noted that through the lessons learnt from FADAMA project, yields have improved from 1.5 metric tons in 2018 to 4 metric tons per hectare which has boosted the income of farmers.
He reiterated that as part of improved Agric services in the FCT, which came to limelight when FCT bee keepers came tops in techniques nationwide and have become self employed graduates.
The out going ARDS Secretary, the secretariat has come up with a strategy to reduce deforestation, disclosing that 25 rural women per chiefdom will collect gas cylinders free and will be trained on the usage as well as their transport fares paid.