The Federal Ministry of Agriculture has flagged- off the distribution of the West Africa Agriculture Productivity Programme (WAAPP)-assisted Certified and Foundation Seeds of rice, maize, sorghum and seed yam.
The flag off was performed by the Minister of State for Agriculture, Mrs. Asabe Asmau Ahmed recently at Doko Town, in Lavun Local Government Area, Niger State.
Mrs.Asabe, commended WAAPP for improving agricultural productivity in the ECOWAS countries and for encouraging integrated development of agricultural research with a view to generating innovations and promoting diffusion throughout the sub-region.
She commended the WAAPP-Nigeria, for complementing the efforts of the Federal Government in its Agriculture Transformation Agenda (ATA), saying that WAAPP’s programmes have contributed to the reduction in the national seed shortage through a multi-pronged investment in the seed sector.
Mrs. Asabe advised farmers to partake in the on-going registration of farmers exercise under the Growth Enhancement Support (GES), scheme to enable them access and benefit from the collection of the farm inputs through the GES scheme, which is designed for small-holder farmers.
Earlier in his remarks, the National Coordinator of West Africa Agricultural Productivity Programme (WAAPP), Prof. Damian Chikwendu, said that WAAPPs aims to make agriculture more productive and sustainable, especially with its priority in the area agricultural commodity value chains in Nigeria which include rice, aquaculture, poultry, maize sorghum, cassava, yam and selected fruit such as mango.
Prof. Chikwendu, stated that in each of these commodities, WAAPP supports the whole gamut of the value chain, from seed breeding/research to production, post-harvest processing and marketing.
He said WAAPP produced and distributed to farmers across the country 432.5 metric tons of improved maize seeds, 434 metric tons of improve rice and 150 metric tons of improved sorghum seeds.
The National Coordinator said the seeds allocated to various states were assigned to the ADPs to keep in custody for the farmers, saying that Niger state received certified seeds (rice 91.8MT, Maize 24.35MT and Sorghum 1 MT), Foundation seeds (Rice 4 MT, Maize 3 MT, Sorghum I MT and Seed yam 10,139 tubers)
The Chairman Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria, Alhaji Yakubu Eyagi, on behalf of the recipients of the improved and foundation seeds, thanked the Federal Government for ensuring that good quality seeds (certified and foundation seeds) were made available to small holder farmers at affordable price through the GES.