By Stanley Onyekwere
To ensure food security, the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) said it has initiated an intensive campaign targeted at boosting dry season farming within Abuja.
This, it said was designed to mitigate the adverse effects of the continued attacks on farmers by bandits in far north, which already has negative impacts on the nation’s food security.
The Ccting Secretary, FCT Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat (ARDS), Ibe Chukwuemeka, made the disclosure recently at the End of the year Media Briefing of the Secretariat.
Chukwuemeka, who noted that FCT has large farming populations that could contribute maximally to the nation’s food production, said the Secretariat was working on some irrigation projects, and constructed earth dams for farmers.
According to him, the Secretariat has also initiated skills acquisition programmes for all categories of farmers, to equip them on hiw to use modern technologies.
He said, “ the Secretariat is currently embarking on programmes to support Dry season farming activities in order to guarantee the availability of food all year round.
“Apart from providing irrigation equipment to farmers such as water pumping machines, water hoses etc, the Secretariat has assisted farmers to construct earth dams.
“In order to ensure prompt of delivery of Agricultural services, the Secretariat has forged close working relationship with all categories of farmers, from small-holder farmers, medium to large scale commercial famers in order to impart in them useful information and skills with regards to improved technologies in production, processing, storage and marketing.”
He further disclosed that the Secretariat had trained about 2000 farmers on pest control and storage techniques.
He however, lamented that the agricultural development programmes of the Secretariat was greatly affected by the looting of its storage warehouse in Gwagwalada by hoodlums during the EndSARS protest.
“As part of efforts to combat and minimize the menace of the Fall Army Worm pest on farmers, the Secretariat through the Department of Agric. Services trained about 2000 farmers and sold insecticides at 50% subsidized rates to farmers.
“In addition to pest control activities, the Department also carried out training on the use of Purdure air tight bags for effective storage of Agricultural produce.
“However the sales were cut short by the violent protests which led to the looting of our warehouses”, he stressed.
Similarly, with the successful experiment on Green House farming in Gwagwalada for the production of tomatoes and different spices of bell peppers the Secretariat is set to establish similar farms in other Area Councils of the FCT”, he added.