The Federal Executive Council, FEC, has approved the sum of N1.4 billion for the procurement of equipment and agricultural inputs for the National Youth Farmers’ Scheme.
Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture, disclosed this while briefing State House correspondents after the FEC meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Wednesday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He said that four contracts were awarded for the scheme and expressed optimism that the projects would encourage youths to go into agriculture.
“The other memo on behalf of the president is seeking approval for the award of contract for the provision of various agricultural inputs and equipment for the National Youth Farmers’ Scheme.
“We have the National Farmers’ Scheme under National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA); here, four contracts were awarded in the total sum of N1.4 billion with various completion periods.”
According to him, the first is provision of farmer inputs such as seeds, cottons, planting materials, agro-chemicals, fertilizer, and growth enhancers, for 3000 hectares in Abia, Adamawa, Borno, Ekiti, Gombe, Imo, Jigawa, Katsina, Kebbi, Niger, Osun, Yobe and Enugu States.
He said that the first contract was for N313 million for a period of two weeks.
He said that the second was the supply of tractors, ploughs, ridgers, disc arrows, hydraulic tipping trailers, logistics and deliveries to selected states such as Kaduna, Katsina, Kebbi, Osun and Jigawa states.
“The third is purchase of land preparation equipment; this involves 11 massive Ferguson tractors, 11 disc ploughs, 11 three disc ploughs, 11 four disc ridgers , 11 twenty disc arrows and 11 hydraulic tipping trailers for Kaduna, Katsina, Kebbi, Osun, Jigawa and Gombe states.
“While logistics and deliveries to selected states such as Abia, Ogun, Ekiti, Katsina and Ebonyi States will gulp another N2.5million.
“The last contract under this paper is the professional and technical enhancement for the National Youth Farmers’ Scheme Enugu, Ekiti, Abia, Imo, Adamawa, Cross River, Katsina, Jigawa, Kebbi, Kogi, Borno and Rivers, for the sum of N213million for a completion period of one week, totalling N1. 4 billion.
“The significance of these contracts is that the Federal Government is once again reiterating the emphasis it put on agriculture and how we want agriculture not to be for just big land owners or big farmers, but to encourage even our youths to go into agriculture.’’
He said that rice pyramids recently inaugurated by the president and the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme relied heavily on small farm holders rather than big companies as the programme had benefitted no fewer than three million small farmer holders.
He said that the nation’s food security depended on stepping up local food production.
“ The Federal Government is not just promoting or investing in rice; it is promoting 23 other crops.
“ This is another example of how we are trying to encourage young people to own land; we give them land and prepare the land for them.
“We also give them equipment and fertilisers and other agric inputs to ensure that we have food security,’’ he said.
On his part, Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, said FEC approved contract for clearing of equipment for the deep blue project which would facilitate sitting of some of the projects in the coastal towns for the sum of N2.8 billion.
“Another one that was approved is the licensing of Oracle E Business Suite in the sum of N955.5 million. That’s for NPA.
“The first one, the deep blue project is for NIMASA.’’
The minister said that another approval was for N214 million as variation for the initial contract of N3.5 billion for the purchase of one railway crane of 450 tons capacity for emergency recovery on standard gauge.
“Finally, contract for the reconstruction of the narrow gauge track from Minna to Barrow,’’ he said.
More so, FCT Minister, Mohammed Bello, said that the council approved award of contract for the full scope development of FCT Highway number 105, popularly known as the Kuje road.
According to him, that is the road that links Kuje satellite town with the interchange and has been approved at the sum of N54.9 billion with a completion period of four years.
“The second one is the road leading to one of the rail stations along the Abuja city rail system—and that is the station at Gbazango. Gbazango is a community within Bwari, FCT.
“The intention of the project is to complete that road so that the station will be functional.
“It was awarded at the contract sum of N1.3 billion,’’ he said.