By Peter Uwumarogie
No fewer than 550 farmers from five local government areas of Gombe State have benefitted from the Federal Government’s seed palliative.
Dr Joseph Hussaini, Director Technical Services, Gombe State Agricultural Development Programme (GADP), disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Gombe on Wednesday.
Hussaini said that the palliative was meant to cushion the impact of coronavirus on rural farmers.
He said that the state ADP received the seeds in July and immediately distributed them, considering the fact that many farmers had already gone far with farming activities in the state.
According to him, the seed palliative was distributed by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development through the International Crops Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT)
According to him, 300 bags of 8kg of sorghum, 200 bags of 5kg of millet and 50 bags of 8kg of cowpea were made available for distribution to five local government areas of the state.
“The local governments are Yamaltu-Deba, Nafada, Shongom, Balanga and Dukku LGAs,’’ he told NAN.
He said the seeds were packaged for distributions to carefully listed beneficiaries.
Hussaini said 110 farmers from each were chosen from each of the local governments.
“They comprised 60 sorghum farmers, 40 millet farmers and 10 cowpea farmers in each LGA,’’ he said.
He, however, said that many farmers had already planted sorghum and millet before the seed palliative arrived, except cowpea that came to time.
He explained that in some locations, especially in Shongom LGA, some farmers declined the seed as they had already completed planting.
“As a result, about 15 bags of sorghum and 10 bags of millet were not collected,’’ he said.
He noted that reports from ADP’s field officers indicated that all seeds collected by farmers have been planted in Balanga, Dukku and Nafada local governments.
He commended the federal government for assisting rural farmers in the state.
“It was really a challenge to get genuine seeds and the federal government came to the rescue and this will assist farmers a lot because the seeds are improved seeds, which boost productivity and farmers’ income.
“These seeds are early maturing varieties with 90 to 100 days period as against the ordinary seeds that take between 120 and 150 days to mature.
“This will mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on farmers.’’
He also commended the Gombe State Government for supporting and strengthening the GADP to improve the agricultural sector towards boosting food security in the state and country. (NAN)