By Peter Uwumarogie
The Gombe State Government has begun the sales of 68, 400 bags of assorted fertiliser at subsidised price of N5,000 per bag for the 2019 wet season to boost food security in the state.
Gov. Inuwa Yahaya, who announced this in Gombe on Saturday, said the inputs would be sold to farmers at subsidised rates to improve agricultural productivity, increase farmer’s income and boost food security in the country.
Yahaya stated that the development of the agricultural sector would remain the policy thrust of his administration in line with his campaign promises to the good people of the state.
He stated that the desire to develop the sector was necessitated by the fact that over 70 per cent of the people of the state were engaged in farming activities.
According to the governor, it is against such background that my administration is committed to providing the projected 20, 000 tonnes of fertiliser and other agricultural inputs for the 2019 farming season.
“We have already taken delivery of 120 truckloads of fertilisers to be distributed for sale to all wards of the 11 local government’s areas.
“This input will be sold to farmers at subsidised rates to improve agricultural productivity thereby translating into more income and empowerment to our farmers and the much needed food security.
“We have also procured 10, 000 bags of 2kg and 950 bags of 10kg of improved maize seeds to ensure higher yields for the 2019 wet cropping season,” he said.
The governor stressed that his administration would work hard within the limit of available resources to improved the agricultural sector.
“We will increase budgetary allocation to agriculture, provide easy access to land for commercial agriculture, increase access to modern equipment and set up state-owned supply company, to ensure availability and timely provision of inputs to farmers .
“We will also increase access to agricultural extension services to farmers and empower our farmers and association to facilitate easy access to loans,” he said.
Yahaya, while warning beneficiaries against selling the items at prices higher than the approved price of N 5, 000, charged security personnel to arrest and prosecute anyone found flouting the order.
Mr Obel Yaji, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, said the ministry had made adequate preparation to ensure prompt and safe delivery of the commodity to the beneficiaries at the grassroots.
Yaji decried that the value change of crops harvested last year was discouraging, adding that such had made most farmers to contemplate concentrating on cash crops rather than food crops.
He urged the government to devise a way of alleviating farmers of their losses by buying the crops at an appreciable value to enhance their living standards.