The Federal Government on Friday in Abuja said it had granted Zamfara farmers a 50 per cent subsidy on fertiliser in a bid to encourage agricultural production in the state.The Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, made the announcement during a courtesy call on him by the Zamfara branch of the All Farmers Association.

He commended the farmers for keying into federal government’s Growth Enhancement Support (GES) scheme and called on farmers across the country to take a cue from Zamfara farmers.

Adesina said it was time Nigerians appreciated their local farmers and patronise what was produced locally, saying “we cannot continue to develop the farmers of foreign nations’’.

“I am so proud of you farmers. You have set an example for other farmers to follow and I am very happy.

“As for your request for a 50 per cent subsidy on fertiliser to make it more affordable for you, it is hereby granted. You shall have a 50 per cent subsidy,’’ he said.
The minister said government had made adequate preparations to raise rice production to 1.6 million tons in the 2013 dry season farming and to 987,000 tons in the wet season.

Adesina however said Nigeria would be a major power in food production if farmers co-operate with the government on its policies and key into them. He assured the farmers of his continuous support and urged them not to be discouraged but work hard as food importation would soon become a thing of the past.

Earlier, the Chairman, Zamfara Farmers Association, Alh. Sani Dahiru, had appreciated the efforts of government to transform agriculture in the country.

He said farming was a profession they are proud of and called on government to quicken the implementation of policies made to develop the sector.

“For us in Zamfara, farming is our pride, and we are calling on government for a 50 per cent subsidy on fertiliser and other inputs to make them more affordable for us,’’ Dahiru said.

He however urged the minister to keep to his promise on rice plants and agricultural equipment.

“We are hoping they will all come very soon,’’ he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the highlight of the event was the presentation of a plaque to the Minister by the association.

Dahiru said the award was in recognition of his support to farmers and achievements within a short time in office.

NAN reports that a former Governor of Zamfara, Alhaji Mahmud Shinkafi, and a former Minister of State for Agriculture, Dr. Malami Buwai, were present at the event.

Other associations represented at the event included the Association of Agro-dealers, Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), and Cattle Rearers Association, among others.

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