Adobe Emenyonu in Benin City
Around 150 cassava farmers in Auchi, Estako West Local Government Area are set to receive loan support under the Central Bank of Nigeria Anchor Borrowers Scheme.
Besides, some Auchi youths who were recently deported from Libya have indicated interest to be registered in the scheme.
To this end, the Otaru of Auchi, HRH Alhaji Aliru Momoh, Ikelebe III has donated 500 hectares of land to the cassava farmers for the success of the scheme.
Addressing the farmers at the signing of Memorandum of Understanding between the farmers, CBN officials and other supporting institutions, Governor Godwin Obaseki said he has many programmes to uplift the living condition of farmers in the state.
Obaseki, who was represented by his Special Adviser on Agriculture, Prince Joe Okojie, assured the farmers that tractors would soon be made available to prepare the land for them.
The governor noted that the decision to engage the farmers in clusters was to teach them new ways of planting in the quest seek alternative to oil. He said the new ways is for the farmers to see farming as a business and make good profit.
According to him, â€œWe have decided to teach people better ways of farming. If we are not self-sufficient in food production we are in trouble. We don’t want to send you to farms without giving you the necessary tools. We can’t send people to farms without access to funding, market and high yielding species. We will buy the farm products at the existing market prices. The loan is a single digit interest rate. How well you look after your farm will determine your profit.”
Coordinator of All Farmers Association of Nigeria in the locality, Abdullahi Mohammed, said they were convinced on the success of the programme as it would enable them farm without tears.
Meanwhile, management of the Edo Fertiliser and Chemical company has assured farmers in the state of adequate supply of fertilisers in this yearâ€™s planting season, saying it has in stock, more than 50 metric tonnes of fertiliser produced since the plant was unveiled in August last year by Vice President Yomi Osinbajo.
It said production at the plant stopped because its stores were filled with finished products.
The fertiliser plant was revitalised last year under the Presidential Initiative on Fertiliser (PIF) with a view to selling fertilisers to farmers in the country at N5,500 per bag.
Speaking to journalists who visited the plant on a fact-finding mission, the management of the outfit said the plant was still operational.
The plant Manager, Mr. Iyere Okhun, who spoke on behalf of the management said it was wrong for people to say the plant has stopped working, when produced products have not been sold.
According to him, “For the few days, we were able to produce more than 30,000 bags that is about 50 trucks of a 600 bags truck. As at yesterday, we have loaded out six trucks. We are expecting order for 11 trucks so that we can start production again. We stopped production because of space constraint. Our stores are filled.
“Now that, we are getting orders for supply, we are getting the space back and the plant will start again. What is stopping us is not lack of raw materials but space for storage. We can do 60,000 metric tonnes per annum.
“We are getting power 15 hours daily but we want them to give us more. As the farming season has started, we are receiving orders from farmers. We are set to load out 18 trucks within two weeks. Our plant is running but we reduced the two shifts to one interchanging them because of space.”
Special Adviser to Governor Godwin Obaseki on Agriculture, Prince Joe Okojie, said there are abundance of fertilisers for farmers in the state.
His words, “I came to see what they have in stock. We are getting our farmers ready to go to the farms. They have been are producing and storing fertilisers. I came to make sure fertilisers are available for our farmers. You can see that there is abundance of fertilisers. They will be made available as we need them. There is no doubt about the plant’s working ability.”