In accordance with the execution of the Agricultural Transformation Agenda Support Program Phase One (ATASP-1), the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has unveiled its plan to provide over 60,000 farmers with significantly subsidized inputs, with the aim of boosting food production across the nation. The ATASP-1 represents an initiative undertaken to actualize the current administration’s unwavering commitment towards achieving food and nutrition security. Dr. Ernest Afolabi Umakhihe, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry explained that the initiative is poised to entice private sector investment, mitigate post-harvest losses, and add value to local agricultural produce.
Represented by the Director, Projects Coordination Unit Department (PCU), Mr. Bukar Musa, Dr. Umakhihe reported that the delivery of subsidized agriculture inputs to smallholder farmers in the North Western States had begun through the National Agricultural Growth Scheme and Agropocket (NAGS-AP). In his remark at the flag-off ceremony for NAGS-AP in Kano State, he emphasized the importance of the initiative, saying that it would increase agricultural output and ensure farmers had ready access to high-quality inputs including fertilizer, seeds, and pesticides.
Govt plans to utilize NAGS & AP to distribute inputs to farmers.
According to him, the federal government will cover 80 percent of the input package’s cost, while individual farmers will be responsible for covering the remaining 20 percent upon the redemption of the given inputs. This year’s programme is particularly remarkable as the federal government approved the introduction and usage of an ICT platform for the distribution of the inputs to farmers, thereby increasing the level of openness, accountability, and efficiency in the input delivery process.
He disclosed that interactions with farmers had taken place, the platform’s helpline employees had been adequately trained, and supervisors of the inputs distribution activities at the redemption centers had been appointed. The government plans to utilize an ICT platform known as the National Agricultural Growth Scheme and Agro-Pocket (NAGS & AP) to distribute inputs to farmers in this and coming agricultural initiatives. Thus, he further urged the beneficiaries to maximize the inputs’ effects on their respective farms, as doing so would boost farm output and income.
NAGS-AP is implemented with funding from the AfDB.
All the participants were also encouraged not to give in to any urges, as anyone found engaging in such an act will be penalized accordingly. Mr. Abba Kabir Yusuf, the Executive Governor of Kano State, who spoke through his Deputy, Mr. Aminu Abdussalem, stated that the Nigerian federal government was implementing NAGS-AP with funding from the African Development Bank (AfDB) as a pilot phase to prepare for the effective implementation of the upcoming policy based operation.
Governor Kabir pointed out that “Policy Based Operation (PBO) was a Sector Budget Support (SBS) operation prepared under the African Emergency Food Production Facility (AEFPF) funded through a loan from the African Development Bank (AfDB) to be implemented across the 36 states of the federation and FCT for a period of two years beginning from 2023.” He noted the NAGS-AP and ATASP-1 goals align, which is to sustainably increase agricultural production along the rice, sorghum, and cassava value chains in order to provide food and nutrition security for the intended beneficiaries.
Impressive growth has been recorded in the project over the years.
Communities in Bunkere Rano, Bagwai, Dawakin Kudu, Bebeji, and Garun Malam Local Government Areas of the state would benefit. According to Dr. Ibrahim Arabi, the National Programme Coordinator for ATAPS-1, the government restructured ATASP-1 to provide initial funds for the implementation of NAGS-AP in response to issues posed by Covid-19 challenges, insecurity, and food insecurity. Dr. Arabi reported impressive growth in the project over the years. He noted that the NAGS-AP will be carried out in the five states of Niger, Kano, Jigawa, Sokoto, and Kebbi, mentioning that rice, sorghum, and maize would be the promoted crops.