The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) has established an online portal for 10 million farmers aimed at fostering efficient tracking of government interventions in the agriculture sector.
Sabo Nanono, minister of agriculture and rural development, made the disclosure during the 44th council meeting of the National Council on Agriculture and Rural Development (NCARD) recently held at the International Conference Centre, Abuja.
The initiative, according to the minister, was initially established to capture and record bio data of 2.4 million farmers across the country but was eventually expanded to 10 million farmers to bolster a better demographic report of farmers with linked geographical information of their farmed plots, crops and production output.
The database, he explained, will be a platform for the federal government interventions going forward, putting an end to ghost schemes and other unscrupulous practices in the agricultural sector.
Emphasising improvement of agricultural productivity through mechanisation of production activities, Nanono said the Nigerian government had entered into a partnership with the government of Brazil through the technology transfer, Fundacao Getulio Vargas (FGV). He added that the partnership has yielded an agricultural mechanisation loan worth 905 million euros.
“The loan shall be granted to Nigerian entrepreneurs to establish service centers across all the 774 local governments of the country, selling services to all categories of farmers and thereby helping to improve their productivity,” he stated.
He further disclosed that the agriculture ministry in collaboration with the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) has been working to ensure strategic advantage in the production of key export commodities including; sesame, sorghum and hibiscus , to improve production protocols in compliance with internationally acceptable standards, maintenance of an exporters’ directory and exporter certificate verification portal.
Nanono also stressed that the ministry had embarked on increasing the number of available extension workers in various aspects of agricultural operations.
“This year, about 1,200 extension workers have been trained and with the green imperative project launching soon, there is a component of it that will see the training of extension workers in agricultural mechanisation and other important aspects of crop and livestock operations,” he assured.