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Aftermath Of NatureNews Report: FG Moves To Combat Ginger Blight Outbreak In FCT, Three States

* NADF Offers N1.6bn Support To 15,000 Farmers

By George George Idowu and Grace Samuel

Barely twenty four hours after NatureNews published a cover story on the outbreak of ginger blight epidemic in Nigeria, the Federal Government has reacted positively to the report by offering a support package worth N1.6 billion to the affected farmers.

The timely support, facilitated by the National Agricultural Development Fund (NADF), was meant for 14,000 ginger farmers in the affected three states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.

It would be recalled that on Monday, NatureNews published a front page lead report in which the authority officially acknowledged the outbreak of ginger blight epidemic at ginger farms in Kaduna, Nasarawa, Plateau and the FCT.

The prevalence of the epidemic was disclosed by the Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Security, Senator Aliyu Abdullahi, when he inaugurated the National Ginger Blight Epidemic Control Taskforce in Abuja.

The areas affected most, according to the Minister, was Southern Kaduna, where there is a large concentration of ginger farmers who are cultivating 85% of Nigeria’s total ginger output.

Senator Abdullahi noted that ginger farmers incurred huge losses to the tune of several billions of naira in the affected States.

The Minister, who lamented the impact of the blight on ginger farmers, expressed concern that the epidemic might affect the rating of Nigeria that was regarded as the second largest producer of ginger worldwide.

In a swift reaction on Tuesday, the Executive Secretary of NADF, Muhammed Abu Ibrahim, announced that the Federal Government in collaboration his agency, is offering a support package worth N1.6 billion to ginger farmers in the affected states and the FCT.

Mr. Ibrahim explained that the NADF’s support falls under the Ginger Recovery Advancement and Transformation for Economic Empowerment (GRATE) initiative.

He said a total of 15,000 ginger farmers from Kaduna, Nasarawa, Plateau, and the FCT were impacted by the recent outbreak of ginger blight in the country.

The NADF Executive Secretary also disclosed that the GRATE initiative was supported by the office of the Vice President.

The support package for each of the ginger farmers include one 20kg bag of high yield seed variety, four 50 kg bags of NPK fertilizer, two 50 kg bags of Urea, and two 1kg bags of fungicide.

Other items include one litre of herbicide and one two litre bottles of post-emergence herbicide.

Earlier in her remarks during the presentation of the farm support items to the farmers, the Technical Assistant on Agriculture in the Vice President’s Office, Marian Moon, noted that the government is prioritizing agriculture and particularly ginger, as part of its renewed hope agenda program.

Meanwhile, stakeholders at the event have lauded NatureNews for giving prominence to the epidemic and escalating the challenges faced by ginger farmers, which contributed to the government’s swift response.

The online newspaper was commended by some of the ginger farmers who taught the outbreak of ginger blight epidemic will signal the end of their ginger farming business.

 

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