The Nigerian Government has approved the sum of N13 billion intervention fund for pest control in 12 “frontline” states.
They are Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara, Katsina, Kano, Jigawa, Bauchi, Gombe, Adamawa, Taraba, Yobe and Borno States.
In a series of tweets on Saturday, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said the fund was approved to ensure uninterrupted agricultural activities during the 2020 farming season and control transboundary pests.
It added that the approval was aimed at minimising the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, as well as guarantee both nutritional and national food security.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sabo Nanono, announced the approval at the flag-off of the 2020 dry season control of transboundary pests for 12 the states at the Birnin Kebbi International Airport, Kebbi State.
He described the fund as a proactive measure necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic and reports of desert locust outbreak in East Africa and the Middle East, with the possibility of a spillover of the locust swarm into West Africa, including Nigeria.
According to Nanono, the present administration is very determined to fight any menace that will truncate the success recorded so far, especially in the agricultural sector.
He explained that Kebbi State was deliberately selected for the flag-off in view of the extensive agricultural activities in the state.
The minister said the state government has also been very cooperative in the implementation of agricultural interventions over the years.
He thanked the state governor, Atiku Bagudu, and governors of the other 11 states for their collaboration with the ministry towards reducing the effect of the migratory pests such as quelea birds, locusts, and grasshoppers.
In his remarks, Governor Bagudu commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his vision and people-oriented policies in the agricultural sector.
The governor believes the government’s policies will ensure job creation, food security, and boost the economy for the good of Nigerians.