Government supports ginger farmers with N1.6b recovery package

• Farmers lose N12b to ginger blight epidemic
• Crisis threatens Nigeria’s market leadership position

The federal government through the National Agriculture Development Fund (NADFund) has provided N1.6 billion as a recovery package to farmers affected by the ginger blight epidemic ravaging farms across the country.

The intervention comes on the heels of investigations showing that ginger farmers lost an estimated N12 billion as a result of a fungal disease that damaged ginger farms in Kaduna, Nasarawa, Plateau states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Abubakar Kyari, while speaking at the inauguration of the Ginger Blight Epidemic Control Taskforce, in Abuja, yesterday, stated the N12 billion estimated loss is from Ginger farmers in Southern Kaduna alone where more than 85 percent of cultivation occurs.

He lamented that the blight has caused billions of naira in losses, impacting not only the livelihoods of countless hardworking farmers but also Nigeria’s position as the world’s second-largest ginger producer.

The minister who was represented by the Minister of State, Sabi Abdullah I, pointed out that with a market value that is expected to reach $6.29 billion by 2030, up from $4.16 billion in 2023, Nigerian ginger presents a phenomenal opportunity for the economy.

He revealed that over 70 per cent of the arable land in Southern Kaduna has been lost to the pandemic hence the need for intervention to enable the farmers to plant other crops pending the time a sustainable solution to the pandemic is found.

He noted that In response to the ginger blight crisis, a multifaceted task force comprising four committees was established in January, saying the Technical and Research Committee would be dedicated to understanding the disease and developing control measures to mitigate future re-occurrences.

He stressed that the Emergency and Recovery Committee would focus on supporting farmers impacted by the failed season through needs assessments and transparent relief distribution while the Capacity and Productivity Committee would empower farmers for a stronger future by providing training, quality seeds and best practices to combat the crisis.

The Marketing and Industry Committee will be working to bridge the gap between Nigerian ginger and the local and global markets while fostering collaboration with export destinations, ensuring regulatory compliance and educating stakeholders for success, he disclosed.

While mentioning that the Task Force Secretariat would act as the central hub for planning, resource allocation, communication and progress evaluation, Abdullah said: “It is with this multi-pronged approach that we launch the Ginger Blight Epidemic Control Taskforce today. This task force will serve as the cornerstone of our response going forward, bringing together the expertise of researchers, extension agents and, most importantly, our dedicated farmers. Together, we will overcome this challenge and build a more resilient ginger industry.”

The Chairman of the Task Force Committee, Abdullah Abubakar, stated that the committee has been working behind the scenes to avert the surge of the epidemic that has affected ginger production.

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