By Stanley Onyekwere
The Secretary, Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat (ARDS), Mrs. Olvadi Bema Madayi, has reiterated the Federal Capital Territory Administration’s commitment towards provision of enabling environment to farmers in Abuja, for high and quality productivity.
Madayi gave this assurance while speaking with newsmen in her office, on the commemoration of the 2014 World Food Day, which has the theme “Family Farming, feed the world and save the Earth.”
She said that the Secretariat has since the inception of the present Administration under the leadership of Senator Bala Mohammed, has been implementing innovative programmes which have helped to boost agriculture in the FCT.
Also, she noted that the Secretariat recognises the challenges faced by the small scale farmers in the FCT, which is why it has vigorously pursued progressive programmes, aimed at empowering them, by helping to address the basic issues of access to markets, access to land and access to agricultural inputs, as well as training of local farmers to embrace modern farming techniques.
According to her, the declaration of 2014 as the year of family farming by the United Nations; was in recognition of the crucial role of the family who are engaged in various small holder farming activities to the collective desire of nations, to address issue of hunger, poverty and food security.
The Secretary highlighted some of the programmes, to include the repositioning of the FCT Agriculture Training Centre, Yaba, which is collaboration with Leventis Group Foundation, adding the centre trains and empowers over 120 youth annually.
She added that the Secretariat is putting in place an ultra-modern integrated farm center in Bwari, modeled along the renowned Songhai Farm Centre, Benin Republic.
The centre, according to her will revolutionalise agriculture in the FCT and also help in providing basic training for teeming unemployed youths interested in going into farming.
“In order to increase food production and crop yields, the Secretariat has through the Growth Enhancement Scheme, GES been able to register over 120,000 farmers in the FCT.
“Through this scheme farmers are able to have access agricultural inputs such as fertilizers, tractors and improved seeds,” the Secretary disclosed.
Commenting further on the FCT Agricultural Development Programme, Mrs. Madayi, disclosed that the FCT Administration is in partnership with Prime Soil Limited, in which 15,000.00 hectares of arable farmland located in Piri, Kwali Area Council, will be made available to potential investors.
“The Secretariat has supported small scale family farmers in the FCT include the establishment of the Bwari Fish farm estate which has a capacity to of producing over 20,000 fish annually.
“The Secretariat has also provided support to bee farmers in the FCT with basic bee harvesting and processing equipment,” she stressed.