The Federal Capital territory Administration (FCTA), through the Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat (ARDS), has subsidized, by 50 per cent, the cost of grains to residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Secretary for ARDS, Nzekwe Stanley Ifeanyichukwu, who announced this during the flag-off of this year’s buffer stock programme, at the FCT Agro-Service Centre in Gwagwa-Abuja, explained that the release of the grains was aimed at ensuring that residents have access to the products at affordable rates.
Represented by the deputy director, agric services department, Dr. Nkem Akamegbu, the secretary added that under the first phase of the sales, about 650 bags of grains, made up of millet and maize, have been released for sale, just as he disclosed that budgetary provision has been made in the 2018 budget to mop-up more produce from farmers in order to reach out to more beneficiaries in 2019.
“I will not fail to appreciate the Honourable minister for granting us approval to implement the programme and for the fact that residents will be able to buy these very important food items at highly subsidized rate. We intend to expand the scope of this programme in the coming year so as to accommodate more residents.”
On the issue of the post-harvest losses incurred by farmers, Nzekwe stated that agric extension workers of the secretariat have been deployed to farms across the FCT to sensitise farmers on proper use of agro-chemicals, as well as on effective measures of food preservation to minimize losses.
Earlier, the chief of Gwagwa community, Mr. Japhet Akawu (JP), had expressed appreciation to the administration for the initiative, which he noted is a testimony of the administration’s people friendly programmes, with direct impact on the lives of residents.
Akawu noted the release of the grains at a subsidized rate would go a long way in putting food on the tables of less privilege residents, as well as reducing hunger.
The secretary also used the opportunity to inspect the on-going rehabilitation work on the FCT Agro-Service Center which has been given a face lift with the construction of perimeter fence and renovation of the main warehouse.