Nigeria allocates $1.2mn to aid ginger farmers amid blight epidemic

Ginger (Zingiber officinale) harvesting on ginger field. Farmer hold in hand fresh ginger rhizome.

Nigeria’s Federal Government, through the National Agricultural Development Fund (NADF), has announced a N1.6 billion ($1.2mn) support package for ginger farmers grappling with a recent blight epidemic. This initiative, disclosed by Mohammed Ibrahim, the Executive Secretary of NADF, during the “Ginger Blight Epidemic Control Taskforce Support Initiative” launch in Kaduna, targets aiding farmers across Kaduna, Plateau, Nasarawa states, and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The blight epidemic has adversely impacted approximately 15,000 ginger farmers, threatening the livelihoods of communities reliant on ginger cultivation. In response, the government has introduced the Ginger Recovery Advancement and Transformation for Economic Empowerment (GRATE) package, designed to provide immediate relief and promote sustainable agricultural practices among the affected farmers.

This comprehensive support package encompasses high-yield seed varieties, NPK fertilizer, urea fertilizer, fungicides, insecticides, herbicides, and post-emergence herbicides. These inputs are expected to not only counter the blight’s immediate effects but also enhance ginger production capacity, aligning with national objectives to expand export revenues and economic empowerment.

Highlighting the significance of the ginger sector, Ibrahim referenced National Bureau for Statistics (NBS) data, which showed a remarkable 17 percent increase in ginger export revenue, rising to N10 billion in the second quarter of 2023 from N4.6 billion in the corresponding period of 2022. This growth underscores the potential of ginger cultivation as a key driver of Nigeria’s agricultural export earnings.

The initiative has garnered support from various government quarters, including the Office of the Vice President. Maryam Mo, Technical Assistant on Agriculture, emphasized the strategic importance of agriculture and, specifically ginger farming, within the government’s renewed agenda. She pointed out Nigeria’s competitive advantage in ginger quality on the global stage, noting efforts by other countries to cultivate Nigerian ginger strains due to their superior quality.

Local government representatives, including Kaduna state governor Senator Uba Sani, represented by Deputy Governor Hadiza Balarabe, have also lauded the Federal Government’s intervention. This concerted effort signifies a robust governmental commitment to revitalizing the ginger sector, ensuring food security, and fostering economic resilience in rural communities.

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