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Agriculture crucial for economic development, says Gombe Governor

Agriculture crucial for economic development, says Gombe Governor
By Matthew Atungwu
The Executive Governor of Gombe state, Muhammad Inuwa Yahaya, says agriculture is crucial to economic development and sustainability of livelihoods of the people
The governor made this disclosure on Saturday at the the occasion of the flag-off of the 2022 farming season fertilizer sales to farmers  at Farm Service Centre, Dukul, Kwami LGA of the state.
The governor, who expressed gratitude to God to witness such important occasion, said it was among his early engagements on coming to office three years ago and the third in series since the inception of this administration to flag-off fertilizer sales and distribution to the teeming farmers, adding that it was a demonstration of their commitment to supporting the farmers towards boosting their productivity and improving their livelihoods by ensuring timely distribution of affordable fertilizers in fulfilment of their campaign promises.
According to the governor, Gombe State is largely an agrarian state with over 80% of its population engaged in agricultural activities, hence they consider very important by engaging in different initiatives and programmes to revamp and sustain the sector and activities in the state.
Governor Yahaya said, so far, they had keyed into many agricultural initiatives at state, regional and national levels to boost their performances, stressing that they are a key stakeholder in the National Livestock Transformation Program with the Wawa-Zange Grazing reserve as a model project, tapping into the great irrigation potentials of the three major dams of Dadin Kowa, Cham and Balanga in order to promote large-scale irrigation activities.
He said their farm service centers were being revived to serve as one-stop shops of agricultural services and they allocated about 250 hectares out of the 1000 hectares earmarked for the Gombe Industrial Park for the purpose of developing an Agricultural Industrial Cluster in order to provide room for enhancement of the agriculture value chain through the processing of agricultural commodities that are highly abound.
The governor reiterated that, with these, together with many donor-driven and private sector-led initiatives are turning Gombe’s agricultural sector around by diversifying the economy, improving productivity, enhancing revenue generation, creating jobs and promoting food security, assuring continuous and maximum support for the overall progress and development of the sector.
The governor, who decried security and other challenges as the causes of delay in  procurement, production and distribution process associated with the exercise in the 2022 wet farming season, said the doggedness and perseverance of the State’s Ministry of Agriculture, have overcome the challenges and are witnessing the flagging off ceremony of the sale and distribution to enable the farmers obtain this vital commodity at a subsidized rate for the economic growth and wellbeing of the people.
According to him, in line with the normal practice, fertilizer will be supplied directly to the Local Governments for onward sale and distribution through the polling units so as to reach the grassroots, adding that the objective was to ensure that the rural farmers were supplied all the basic farm inputs at their doorsteps without necessarily going through bureaucratic or economic red-tapism associated with the past.
“As a result, we strengthened the Ministry of Agriculture, the Fertilizer Monitoring Committee, and relevant security agencies in order to ensure that fertilizer reaches its intended beneficiaries promptly. The Ministry of Agriculture and relevant security agencies are hereby directed to ensure strict compliance with the clear guidelines of the sale and distribution exercise.
“On this note, I have directed that for the 2022 farming season, a bag of NPK 15- 15 fertilizer to be sold at N19,000 per bag. I would like to call on our hardworking farmers of Gombe state to take full advantage of this opportunity to advance the cause of their farming activities. While I urge our farmers to approach the farming season with strong commitment and enthusiasm, I pray that God will grant us sufficient rain, blessed farming season and bumper harvest.
“I would like to use this medium to appeal to our teeming farmers to cooperate with those assigned with the responsibility of sales and distribution of fertilizer across the State. I also charge the Farmers and Herders to cooperate with one another for peace to continue reigning in the State. I am appealing to our farmers against encroaching into grazing reserves and cattle routes and also calling on our herders and pastoralists to avoid grazing on farm lands prior to harvest and evacuation of farm produce.”
The governor on behalf of the state expressed gratitude to the Federal Government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari for supporting their efforts towards transforming the agricultural sector in Gombe State.
 “Particularly we are thankful to National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA) for partnering with us to start the pilot dry season wheat farming in the State. This has become an eye opener for our wheat farmers. I also wish to thank the North-East Development Commission (NEDC) for donating   Agricultural inputs such as herbicides, fertilizer and farm implements which have been distributed free to large scale, medium scale and small scale farmers. This gesture will go a long way in providing necessary support for our Agricultural activities in the State.”

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