Jan 9, 2013, 10:12 AM
In response to the 2011 crop failure, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) last week handed over emergency response seeds to the Ministry of Agriculture for onward distribution to the farmers.
The seeds handed over to the ministry included 94 metric tonnes of rice and 77 metric tonnes of maize.
Babagana Ahmadu, the FAO country representative, has stated that the emergency response seeds are intended to rehabilitate the country’s productive capacities and to increase the resilience of households affected by the crisis.
Solomon Owens, the Minister of Agriculture, was present at the handover and thanked the FAO for its timely intervention. He emphasised that the seeds are intended for planting rather than for consumption. He said that they have been tested and found to be capable of 98% germination. Mr Owens also said that the seeds are on loan, and added that if a farmer is given a kilo, he must return a kilo at the end of the season with no interest payable.
Ganyie Touray, the governor of Central River Region, was also present at the handover. He emphasised the importance of having seeds, without which farming cannot take place.
According to Mr Touray, 19 districts were seriously impacted by the crisis but his region has been badly affected. Mr Touray also urged farmers not to sell the seeds or consume them, as they are meant for planting only.
Dr Sait Drammeh, Director of Agriculture, implored farmers to make best used of the seeds and ensure recovery from the previous crop failure crisis.