The Edo State Government has called for off-takers of maize, cassava and rice harvest from farmers under its Agripreneur project in the coming planting season.
In a statement in Benin City, the Special Adviser to Edo State Governor on Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security Programme, Hon. Prince JoeÂ Okojie,Â said the state government is committed to linking off-takers to farmers to reduce post-harvest losses and guarantee investments in agriculture in the state.
The state government initiated the agripreneur programme to engage youths in agribusiness, provided them withÂ land, assisted in farm management and facilitated access to high-yielding crop varieties and other inputs. The programme was piloted in 2017 with some of the farmers located at the Sobe Farm settlement.
According to Okojie, â€œThe off-takers would mop up the harvest from the farms, and we can assure that theÂ produceÂ would be of the best quality because we are working with experts to train the farmers on Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and also supply the best of inputs to ensure that theÂ produceÂ meet standards.
â€œThis is also another avenue for the state governor to ensure that the youths going into agriculture are assured of buyers and aggregators for theirÂ produce,Â so that they are motivated to stay on the farms and are assured of returns from their investment.â€
The Agripreneur Project is part of Governor Godwin Obasekiâ€™s Accelerated Agriculture Initiatives, through which 5,000 hectares of farmland would be cultivated. About 1,000 hectares was cultivated last year which provided employment for 200 youths in the state. Over 2,000 hectares of land have been cleared, much of which will be included in theÂ agripreneurÂ programme this year.