The federal government has concluded plans to distribute improved seeds to 2 million smallholder farmers in Nigeria as a palliative measure meant to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on food production ahead of the 2020 planting season.
Alhaji Sabo Nanono, the minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, made this known in Kano during the flag-off of seed distribution to 10,000 smallholder farmers across 13 selected states.
The distribution of seeds is being facilitated by the International Crop Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) and other agricultural development partners.
The importance of planting a good seed by any farmer cannot be over emphasized because a good seed determines the harvest yield at the end of the farming season.
To make the most out of farming practices, a farmer must use seed with the best genetics to save time and maximize input.
Certified seeds grant farmers access to improve traits such as better yield, pest resistance, drought tolerance, herbicide tolerance, and much more.
Hakeem Ajeigbe, ICRISAT country representative for Nigeria, stated that special intervention was necessary in farming within the country given the current state of affairs, and that the institute and other partners consider the distribution of seeds to smallholder farmers to be vital in preventing hunger and food crisis.
He explained that each beneficiary will be given a single crop per one hectare of land, noting,“We have improved seeds of sorghum, millet, cowpea and rice.”