How Nigeria leverages dry season farming to boost food security and economic growth

Nigeria is determined to harness its untapped potential and diversify its food production capabilities through dry season farming.

This was the message of the Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Senator Abubakar Kyari, who spoke at the launch of the National Agricultural Growth Scheme and Agropocket (NAGS-AP) in Hadejia, Jigawa State.

Kyari said the Federal Government had secured a $134 million loan from the African Development Bank (AfDB) to support dry season farming and enhance food security.

He said the project would target between 150,000 to 250,000 wheat farmers with 50 per cent input subsidy to cultivate between 200,000 to 250,000 hectares and produce an expected yield of 1,250,000 tonnes of wheat.

He said other selected staples, such as rice, maize, and sorghum, would also receive similar support to reduce food inflation and import dependence, while increasing domestic consumption.

Kyari explained that dry season farming would increase crop yields by at least 20 per cent, compared to the previous year’s yield. He said the government would invest in irrigation infrastructure projects to optimise water usage and mitigate the challenges posed by the dry season. He said this would promote agricultural self-sufficiency and stimulate economic growth.

Kyari said the project would be technology-enabled to ensure transparency and accountability in the provision of the subsidy and other support services, such as extension, insurance, and additional finance. He said the farmers would have access to improved seeds, including heat-tolerant wheat varieties, such as Borlaug 100 and Attila.

Jigawa State Governor Umar Namadi said the state’s Wheat Development Programme, in partnership with the Federal Government, was in line with the resolve to sustain progress and build on previous achievements of the agricultural transformation agenda.

He said the state government would provide free high quality extension service to wheat farmers and engage 1,440 extension agents to ensure full coverage. He also said the state government had worked out an arrangement with Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) to provide guarantee for the balance of 37.5 per cent of the cost of inputs supplied.

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