Federal Government has said it approved N13 billion intervention fund for the control of pests, including grasshoppers, locust and birds in 12 states of the North.
The government said the intervention fund is to ensure uninterrupted agricultural activities during 2020 farming season, control trans-boundary pests and minimise the impact of the COVID–19 pandemic as well as a guarantee both nutritional and national food security.
The benefiting 12 frontline states are Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara, Katsina, Kano, Jigawa, Bauchi, Gombe, Adamawa, Taraba, Yobe and Borno.
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Muhammad Sabo Nanono, stated this during the inauguration of the 2020 dry season control of Trans-boundary (MIGRATORY) pest (Quelea birds, locusts and grasshoppers) for the 12 frontline Northern states at the Birnin Kebbi International Airport, Kebbi State.
The minister noted that the present global COVID-19 pandemic and reports of desert locust outbreak in East Africa and the Middle East with the possibility of a spill over of the huge locust swarm into West Africa, including Nigeria, necessitated the proactive measures, including control of all trans-boundary pests to ensure uninterrupted food supply in the country.
Nanono emphasised that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration, “is very determined to fight any menace that would truncate the tremendous success recorded so far especially in the agricultural sector.
‘’The choice of Kebbi State for the flag-off is deliberate, in view of the extensive agricultural activities in the state and the immense cooperation and collaboration of the state government in the implementation of agricultural interventions over the years.’’
The minister commended Kebbi State Governor, Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu and the other governors of the frontline states, for their collaboration and cooperation with the ministry towards reducing the effect of the migratory pests (Quelea birds, locusts and grasshoppers) in the 12 states.
Governor Bagudu, in his remarks, commended President Buhari for his vision and people- orientated policies in the agricultural sector, which he said would ensure job creation, food security and boost the economy for the betterment of Nigerians.