By Stanley Onyekwere
An order to bridge the gap created by the intervening period, when all crops would have gone into the ground, Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), says it is opening and expanding the floodgates of its food storehouses to farmers and residents in the Territory.
According to the minister of state for FCT, Olajumoke Akinjide, who disclosed this during the distribution of the FCT 2014 Public Sale of Buffer Stock Grains, the initiative is with a view to stabilising the prices of agricultural produce as we await yet another bumper harvest.
She said the FCTA is tearing its barns and expanding its walls to make room for the anticipated growth in harvest from the current buffer stock capacity of 1,250 metric tonnes to 3,250 metric tonnes as a result of the boost it recorded.
Represented by the Secretary, FCT Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat of the FCT, Bema Madayi said, the administration aims to increase the productivity of farmers as well as empower the youths and women through various forms of agricultural business.
It would be recalled that FCTA last week commenced the distribution of bags of guinea corn, maize and millet in the 2014 FCT Buffer Stock Programme at 50 percent discount rate.
The bags of grains were purchased from farmers in the territory during the last harvest season under the FCT Buffer Stock Programme, in a bid to cushion the effect of the high cost of food items on Abuja residents.
“Consequently, the FCT administration is championing value addition, sourcing for markets, enlightenment, sensitisation and education of farmers on the availability of new technologies and new ways of doing agriculture.”
She said 16, 507 bags of maize, 1, 880 bags of guinea corn and 2, 393 bags of millet all in 50kg sizes were approved for distribution.
She stressed that the grains are to be sold to the public, area councils, government agencies and various farmer association at 50 percent discount rate.
Accordingly, maize and guinea corn would be sold at N2, 200. 00 while millet will sell at N3, 000.00.
Akinjide pledged the administration’s commitment to continue to live up to the ideals of the FCT Buffer Stock programme towards reducing wastage and ultimately ensuring food security in the territory.
“We shall embark on direct sales at designated outlets as well as our FCT agricultural stores throughout FCT, to ensure that many residents benefit from the scheme,” she said.