Obaseki’s agric reform: Edo farmers get N5bn investment for cultivation of over 10,600ha

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The Edo State Government has said it is investing N5 billion drawn from the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) Anchor Borrowers programme on development of over 10,600 hectares of land, which will guarantee farmers in the state access to funding to boost productivity.

Special Adviser to Edo State Governor on Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security, Prince Joe Okojie, disclosed this after sensitisation workshops for farmers who are to benefit from the programme in Ekpoma, Usogbenu and Illushi, during the Edo Central Senatorial district leg of engagement with the farmers. The farmers to benefit from the programme are drawn from all senatorial districts in the state.

Okojie said N1.2 billion would be expended on rice farming in Iguariaki, Iguomon, Illushi, Agenebode and Warake and on maize cultivation in Ekpoma, Usugbenu and Sobe.

“We have set a target to harvest 17,000 metric tons of rice by cultivating 4,000 hectares of land and 11,000 tons of maize by cultivating 6,600 hectares of land at the end of the planting season in 2019. We took about N5bn under the Commercial Agric Credit Scheme, about N2.2bn is for crop production, N2.3bn for land development and about N100m for irrigation,” he explained.

He said the investment is aimed at producing millionaire agriprenuers by helping them scale up their production through mechanisation, noting, “We have employed the services of Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) as our technical partner. NIRSAL is going to bring on board a lot of agronomists who will help our farmers.

“We want to deploy best practices for the cultivation of the crops this season and hope that we get better yield than the one that we got two years ago.”

Field Officer, NIRSAL, Mr. Paul Jatau, said NIRSAL is partnering with Edo State government to provide technical support and inputs to the farmers, urging farmers to take advantage of the opportunity provided by the programme to scale their operations into commercial enterprises.