By Chinyere Anyanwu                                   [email protected]

Sokoto State Governor, Ahmad Aliyu Sokoto, has raised the alarm that efforts to achieve food security  in Nigeria are currently threatened by the activities of political farmers masquerading as genuine farmers solely to enjoy the agricultural subsidies and other incentives provided by the government at national and sub-national levels.

Sokoto, who made the submission in Abuja during a recent visit to the Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Abubakar Kyari, said there was an urgent need to strategise on how to identify genuine farmers and work closely with them.

He regretted that political farmers strategically position themselves to enjoy subsidies the Federal Government spends billions of naira on to make Nigeria self-sufficient in food production. Noting the insecurity plaguing the farmers, the governor called for support to combat the problem.

He said, “many farmers have abandoned their farmlands for fear or terror attacks and this is leading to shortage in food production. “Our major concern in Sokoto State is banditry. Without security, farmers cannot go to the farm.

“Why I’m here is to seek your support and to see how we can collaborate to achieve results. Identification of genuine farmers is important to address the situation.

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“I want to share with you that the state will establish a committee under the Ministry of Agriculture to collaborate with the Ministry of Innovation and Digital Economy so we can put a mechanism to identify genuine farmers. Without this, government support cannot get to real farmers.”

On his part, Kyari noted that the government would implement stringent measures in the dry and wet season farming for rice, maize and cassava, to ensure transparent distribution of agro-input to target genuine farmers.

He said  collaboration with states, local governments, traditional rulers, non-governmental organisations and relevant ministries, departments and agencies will be crucial in achieving this goal.

“Your visit is a substantiation of the strong partnership and collaboration we are striving to build between states and the Federal Government in our efforts to ensure food security and agricultural development.

“We are aware the agricultural sector in Sokoto has experienced achievements since your administration came to office. Your efforts towards the provision of agricultural input support to farmers is well noted,” Kyari said.