Federal Government of Nigeria distributes Cowpeas Starter Packs to boost Farming

Farmers and extension agents in Kaduna State, Nigeria’s north-west, have received starter kits for growing cowpeas as well as agricultural inputs from the federal government.

Speaking at the distribution on Sunday in Kaduna, Mrs. Dorathy Botar of the Department of Agricultural Extension Services in the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said the federal government was making the move to entice farmers and extension specialists toward widespread cowpea cultivation.

The distribution was overseen by Botar, who remarked that the Federal Government distributed the inputs as an act of emergency empowerment because it was cowpea planting time.

She added that the emergency empowerment of farmers and extension agents, which takes place concurrently throughout the Northwest, Northeast, and North Central region, was accomplished through the distribution of inputs.

The rainy season, which is gradually coming to an end, has made it impossible to plant many crops, according to Botar, who also noted that cowpea should be planted now.

“It is an excellent timing because cowpeas are planted in July and the first week of September. 38 beneficiaries, including extension officials and farmers, will get starter kits.

The current ministry leadership is interested in enhancing agriculture, therefore the farmers should be ready as many of these programs will be heading their way, she said.

Botar cautioned the recipients to use the inputs wisely, saying that sometimes they sell them while promising them more benefits if they use them.

“The fertilizer and herbicides have already been provided to the farmers and extension agents, making them pre- and post-inputs. Nothing should force them to sell them; all they need to do is cultivate and use them.

She said that doing so would increase food security and decrease poverty.

In a similar vein, Dr. Timkat Nanfa, the State Coordinator for the Ministry, claimed that farming without inputs is a waste of time and resources.

He referred to agricultural inputs as the foundation of farming and claimed that they increase output, which results in increased yield and harvest.

The coordinator laments the status of cowpea growing in Kaduna, adding that farmers’ yields would have increased with the use of inputs.

Additionally, the beneficiary was determined to be smallholder farmers, according to Mr. Muhammad Rili, general manager of the Kaduna State Agricultural Development Agency, KADA.

He claimed that the designated farmers needed this support the most because it was intended to boost their morale and help them support their means of subsistence.

Rili stated that the organization will monitor the recipients to make sure they utilized the inputs and added that they had used their extensive database.

“We have zonal offices where we cluster the beneficiaries, and we’ll send signals to our zonal managers to follow up on how the inputs are being used,” the speaker said.

“We’ll keep a close eye on those who enjoy reselling farm inputs they obtained through gestures, and goodwill. We shall now take into account who will benefit and who won’t moving forward.

“Our goal and objective in KADA is to make sure that such gestures to small-scale farmers are used, utilised, and appropriately deployed for yield full seasons,” Rili said.

He expressed gratitude to the federal government for selecting Kaduna State as part of the gesture and expressed excitement for future collaboration and support in the areas of agricultural development and rural farmer empowerment for self-sufficiency and agricultural sustainability.

The federal government’s goodwill, according to one of the recipients and cowpea farmer Mr. Philip Iliya, arrived at the perfect time.

He stated that such empowerment improves farmers’ morale and lessens costs and burdens significantly.

“Everything we will farm will be ours; we won’t need to go get any farm input on credit,” he said. “When we harvest and sell, we pay back for the inputs we collected.”

A better yield, according to Mr. John Peter, an agricultural extension agent, depends on enhanced seedlings.

He emphasized that as an agent, they advise farmers to use better seedlings, adding that the inputs would guarantee a large yield.

He went on to explain that the inputs, which include the enhanced seedlings, are distinct from the traditional ones that farmers utilize on expansive lands yet produce little from.

As extension specialists, we always want farmers to have access to improved varieties so they can increase their productivity.

As an agent and farmer, my main goal is to persuade other farmers to use the government’s enhanced varieties rather than the ones they are accustomed to, he said.

Fertilizers, pre- and post-use pesticides, and cowpea seedlings were among the inputs supplied. It was reported.

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