By Safiyanu Danladi Mairiga
It is an undeniable fact that agriculture plays a critical role in the entire life of every given economy in the world.
Every economic system is built on the basis of agriculture. It comes first before any other. Apart from the fundamental role of providing food and raw material, agriculture also provides employment opportunities to a large number of our population. It is the only sector that absorbs both literate and illiterate population of ours in a great number. This is why every serious government must not neglect the sector.
In Gombe, when governor Inuwa Yahaya took over the mantle of leadership, he made pledge to work based on the promises he made to the people of Gombe state as contained in his 2019 campaign manifesto. Agriculture was among what the governor promised to priotize during his campaigns. A promise made, is a promise fulfilled under the Inuwa Yahaya administration. This sector has been receiving adequate and desired intervention to improve it; and virtually, the promises made on the sector are satisfactorily fulfilled.
In an attempt to increase access to agricultural extension/advisory scheme to farmers in Gombe state, Governor Inuwa Yahaya established across the three senatorial zones, additional five farm service centres in Kalshingi, Lodongor, Dukul, Dukku and Gelengu with some intervention of the NEDC. This project was complemented by another gigantic one that currently helps in the improvement of the sector, which was the establishment of Agricultural Entrepreneurship Training Centre at Garin Tafida to fully equip young farmers with skills and knowledge on how to earn much from the sector while providing the needs of the people.
Farming which becomes the most common of all aspects of agriculture is what majority of our farmers in Gombe state are into. What would be done to enhance their yield at the end of every farming season to ensure food security? Gov. Inuwa Yahaya would later answer this question with his directive to the Ministry of Agriculture that fertilisers be made available to farmers at subsidized rates at the beginning of every farming season. This directive is what the ministry has sticked to to this time, and we’ve been seeing remarkable outcomes.
To further improve on the supply of the fertiliser, the governor upon receipt of experts recommendation on the abandoned Gombe State Fertiliser Blending Plant, leased the facility to a leading producer of quality fertiliser in Nigeria, Tak-Agro & Chemical Ltd, for greater efficiency. This arrangement has become a win-win for the state— the facility is back to life and its operations will generate revenue to the state, the difficulty in getting fertiliser supplied to the state in adequate quantity and on time is no more; and also, it has created job opportunities for youths in the state.
This effort resulted in the provision of 3,600 metric tonnes (72,000 bags) of NPK 20:10:10 fertiliser for 2019 wet farming season; provision of 900 metric tonnes of NPK 20:10:10 fertiliser for 2020 dry season farming; provision of 10,000 metric tonnes of NPK 20:10:10 fertiliser for the 2020 wet farming season; and provision of 10,000 metric tonnes of NPK 20:10:10 fertiliser for 2021 wet farming season.
In his desire to support and empower farmers’ associations and other relevant rural-based cooperative societies in order to facilitate easy access to grants and loans, the governor introduced the Cooperative Reactivation Project (CRP) which benefitted several farmers associations. Through this initiative, a great number of registered farmers associations secured grants and soft loans to improve their activities for improved yields.
The governor’s interest in dry farming led to the government’s giant intervention in irrigation. This saw the construction of 32 tube wells and provision of accompanying water pumps accessories to farmers across the state. Apart from supporting farmers with water pumps, sprayers and chemicals; the governor directed the ministry of agriculture to conduct conditional assessment of irrigation potentials of the state so that more farmers would be drawn into the dry season farming initiatives of the government.
Women and youth have remained the priority of Inuwa administration. Many initiatives have been created to support their growth and development. The desire for the development of these important segments of our population becomes the reason why governor Inuwa Yahaya’s administration keyed into the National Livestock Transformation Plan of the federal government to develop the Wawa-Zange grazing reserve to promote animal husbandry and livestock entrepreneurship among youth and women in the state.
To support the federal government agricultural intervention programs in the state, the governor approved and disbursed all counterpart funds the state government ought to commit in the implementation of the programs. Fourty five million naira was paid as counterpart fund for UNDP/GEP project; twenty million naira was paid as counterpart fund for FADAMA III AF project; and twenty five million naira to Leventis Foundation, Tumu, for training of students on modern farming.
All these achievements became possible under the stewardship of the Honorable Commissioner of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry, Hon. Muhammad Magaji Gettado, who has proven to be a dedicated public servant and a result-oriented person. He deserves commendation for how he steers, brilliantly, this ministry which has always been one of the complicated ministries that are very difficult to handle unless by his likes— a brilliant, brave, experienced and resilient person.
Kudos to the governor for these wonderful achievements. And thanks to the commissioner for a job well done. Keep it up. #MovingGombeForward is possible!