The Federal Government has trained and empowered a total of 243 crop, fish and poultry farmers in Oyo State.
The empowerment and training were organised by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security (FMAFS) in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Budget and National Planning in Ibadan.
Our correspondent reports that the benefitting farmers were each given 25 day-old chicks, chicken feeds, fish feeds, 10 kg of maize, sprayers, herbicides among others.
Speaking during the programme in Ibadan, the Permanent Secretary, FMAFS, Mr Temitope Fadeshemi, decried the level of poverty in Nigeria, describing it as alarming.
According to Fadeshemi, an estimated population of 88.4 million Nigerians were living in extreme poverty.
The permanent secretary, who was represented by FMAFS Coordinator in Oyo State, Dr Florence Kakulu, said that the aim of the empowerment programme was to reduce poverty and increase agricultural yields in Nigeria.
“This is why the Federal Government of Nigeria through the Federal Ministry of Budget and National Planning in collaboration with FMAFS is making conscious efforts at reducing the spate of poverty across the country.
“This programme, an initiative under the National Poverty Reduction with Growth Strategy (NPRGS), today marks a significant milestone in our collective commitment to uplifting the lives of our smallholder farmers and fostering sustainable agricultural practices,” he said.
Fadeshemi said that Nigerian farmers were not just the backbone of the country’s agricultural sector, but were the heartbeat of the nation’s prosperity.
He said that NPRGS reflected government’s dedication to addressing poverty at its roots, emphasising the pivotal role agriculture plays in economic growth and development.
“Through initiatives like today’s training and empowerment programme, we are sowing the seeds of positive change.
“Ensuring that smallholder farmers have the knowledge, resources, and support needed to thrive in an ever-evolving agricultural landscape,” he said.
The permanent secretary said that Nigeria’s challenges could be transformed into opportunities and overcome with determination, collaboration and a shared vision.
This, he said, could be achieved by empowering the agricultural sector to lead the way towards a more resilient and prosperous Nigeria.
Fadeshemi called on the beneficiaries to effectively ultilised the opportunity to increase agricultural yields in the country and earn more profits.
In her lecture, Dr Kehinde Ogunjimi of the Department of Agricultural Extension, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), urged farmers to add value to their products in order to make more profit.
Ogunjimi said that processing their agricultural produce through value addition would reduce exploitation by middle-men and as well reduce high cost of food in the market.
She said that activities of middle-men in agricultural sector usually led to high cost of food in the market while the real farmers make little profit on their produce.
In his remark, Mr Rasaq Moruf, Director Agricultural Extension, Oyo State Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the programme would reduce poverty in Nigeria and encourage farmers to stay in production.
Moruf said that Oyo State government would continue to work in synergy with the federal government at ensuring food sufficiency in the state and Nigeria in general.
The Oyo State “Iyaloja of farmers”, Mrs Ariola Aderibigbe, appreciated the federal government for the gesture, saying farmers were now more encouraged to go back to farm and solicited for more government support.