The Federal Government has approved N13 billion as an intervention fund for pest control in 12 northern states, to reduce the effects of COVID-19 on the nation’s food sector.
The 12 `frontline’ states to benefit from the fund are Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara, Katsina, Kano, Jigawa, Bauchi, Gombe, Adamawa, Taraba, Yobe and Borno States.
The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development made the disclosure in a statement issued on Saturday.
The Minister, Alhaji Muhammad Nanono, said that the intervention fund was to ensure uninterrupted agricultural activities during the 2020 farming season in the states.
He explained that the fund would also be used to control trans-boundary pests and minimise the impact of COVID–19 as well as guarantee nutritional and national food security.
Nanono emphasised that the present administration “is determined to fight any menace that will truncate the successes recorded so far in the agricultural sector”. He said that the government was mindful of reports of desert locust outbreaks in East Africa and the Middle East with the possibility of a spillover of locust swarms into West Africa and Nigeria.
According to the statement, the minister also performed the flag-off of the 2020 dry season control of trans-boundary migratory birds for the 12 frontline northern states at the Birnin Kebbi International Airport in Kebbi.
Nanono said that the flag-off was performed in Kebbi because of the state’s extensive agricultural activities.
“The choice of Kebbi State for the flag off is deliberate, in view of the extensive agricultural activities in the state and the immense cooperation and collaboration of the state government in the implementation of agricultural interventions over the years,” Nanono said.