The federal government has approved N13 billion in intervention funds across 12 northern states to control pests such as quelea birds, locusts, and grasshoppers, among others.
While flagging off the 2020 dry season control of transboundary (migratory) pests in Kebbi State, Minister of Agricultural and Rural Development, Muhammad Nanono explained that the government’s release of funds, which follows the outbreak of desert locusts in East Africa and the Middle East, accounts for the possibility of a spillover of locust swarms into West Africa and Nigeria.
Desert locusts are the most destructive migratory pests in the world, thriving in moist conditions within semi-arid- to- arid environments.
Over the last several months, billions of locusts have been moving throughout East Africa, devouring everything in their path, and posing an unprecedented threat to the food supply and the livelihoods of millions of people.
Nanono asserted that the government had to take proactive measures to be ready to tackle any penetration of the dreaded pest, and to control all the other transboundary pests that could threaten the nation’s food system and production.
The minster explained that Kebbi State was selected for the flag-off given the extensive agricultural activities in the state and the immense cooperation and collaboration of its government in the implementation of agricultural interventions over the years.
He commended Kebbi State Gov. Abubakar Bagudu and other governors from the frontline states for their work with the ministry in reducing the effects of migratory pests and protecting farmers’ investments.
The 12 `frontline’ states, to benefit from governmental funding are Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara, Katsina, Kano, Jigawa, Bauchi, Gombe, Adamawa, Taraba, Yobe and Borno.
In his remarks, Bagudu lauded the vision and efforts of the president in creating agricultural policies and projects that boost food production and security and diversify the economy.