Yekini Jimoh in Lokoja
As part of Kogi State government drive towards actualising the drift from subsistence farming to agriculture as business, the state government is to facilitate the planting of over 21,000 hectares of cassava farms in 2017.
The acting Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Dr Isah Ochepa disclosed this at a meeting of the state agricultural Core Delivery Team (CDT) in Lokoja.
Ochepa said farmers in each of the 21 Local Government Areas of Kogi were expected to cultivate 1,000 hectares each to make up the 21,000 hectares.
Also speaking at the meeting, acting Managing Director of the state Agricultural Development Project (ADP), Mr. James Ogunmola said efforts were also being made to train farmers on preservation of orange flesh sweet potato vines.
This, according to him, is to enable preservation of the vines for distribution to farmers during the next rainy season adding that government had planned to embark on mass production of the orange flesh sweet potatoes.
He said that the nutritional value of the vegetable crop was high and had been recommended particularly for children and adults especially, diabetic patients.
The Managing Director said the decision to produce the potatoes in large quantity was made against the backdrop of the school feeding scheme being contemplated by the state government.
Ogunmola described it as a women-friendly crop being planted in Kenya and Tanzania saying that assimilation of its carbohydrate content during metabolism was gradual and not at once as with others.
Speaking earlier, Mr. Victor Adejoh, Team Lead of Synergos Nigeria, organisers of the CDT programme said the meeting was aimed at engaging government representatives on the need to provide for activities of the State Partnership for Agriculture in 2017 budget.
Adejoh said Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) providing support for the various SPA programmes through Synergos, wanted to see that certain monetary provisions were made for the partnership to show the seriousness of government in transforming agriculture.
“I appeal to CDT members and key budget leaders to have the SPA captured. The target of Synergos in the SPA is to develop an all-inclusive policy to drive the transformation from subsistence farming to agriculture as business”, he said.