The Federal Government, through the National Food Security Council, has commenced distribution of agricultural inputs to 382,308 farmers affected by flood across the country.
Flagging off the distribution in Birnin Kebbi on Tuesday, the Vice Chairman National Food Security Council, Alhaji Atiku Bagudu, who is also the Governor of Kebbi State, said a total of 382,308 farmers affected by flood nationwide, were targeted.
He said the aim of the exercise was to strengthen food security in the country and ensure safety of farmers and agriculture- related ventures.
“It is worth knowing that the  National Food Security Council has, since 2018, considered and approved similar intervention for farmers and those in the animal husbandry sector affected by flood and communal clashes in some states of the Federation.
“It was the first time that the intervention was expanded to livelihood intervention of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).
“President Buhari directed that each state that was affected by conflict, should be supported so that those affected in Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps, would be able to go back to their economic activities.
“For the 2020 intervention, the President approved a due process waver so that NEMA, the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, and Ministry of Agriculture can procure and deliver quickly,” he said.
Bagudu said that the inputs to be distributed comprised seeds, seedlings, agro – chemical, fertiliser, pumping machines, as well as other inputs for the livestock sector, among others.
According to him, NEMA and other collaborating partners have registered the farmers and identified various yields, based on assessment.
He also announced that President Buhari, for the first time, graciously approved the provision of insurance cover for the beneficiaries.
Bagudu  assured the commitment of the council to facilitate programmes and initiatives in support of food production in the country.
Earlier, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, Hajiya Sadiya Farouq, said the flag- off signified the commencement of yet another major landmark effort by the Federal Government to further support persons affected by the 2020 flood disaster.
“Today’s event is a culmination of a follow-up commitment to the initial emergency relief items distributed to the affected persons in the aftermath of the 2020 floods.
“This intervention was approved to provide emergency agricultural inputs specifically to further support farmers that lost their crops as a result of the inundation of their farmlands,” she said.
Farouq, represented by Aisha Ibrahim, urged the identified beneficiaries to cooperate with the implementation teams and make the best use of the inputs provided to them.
The minister also called on the public to always take seriously, flood early warning alerts, and then initiate necessary proactive prevention measures.
She commended  President Buhari for approving the implementation of the project, and also thanked Gov.Bagudu,  as well as heads of agencies, for the success of the initiative.
In his closing remarks, the Director General of NEMA, Alhaji Mustapha Habib-Ahmed, appreciated the doggedness and unflinching commitment of Mr President for supporting small scale farmers.
“These are real farmers that toil, come rain, come shine, to feed the nation, safeguard our national food security and our pride as a people.
“Nigerians are now proud to eat the produce of the Nigerian farmer; beyond  saving foreign exchange for Nigeria, farming is now an illustrious profession, thanks to Mr President,” he said.
Habib-Ahmed also appreciated Hajiya Farouq and thanked Minister of Agriculture, Alhaji Sabo Nanono and Minster of Finance, Hajiya Zainab Shamsuna,  for their passion and commitment to give succour to distressed persons.
A cross- section of the beneficiaries who talked to NAN, thanked the Federal Government for coming to their aid, assuring that they would use the inputs judiciously. (NAN).