Obaseki’s agric reforms: Farmers commence harvest at Edo govt-backed Agenebode rice farm

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Following reforms by Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki to boost food sufficiency in the state, farmers in Agenebode axis of Edo State have commenced harvest in farms cultivated in partnership with the state government, who provided inputs and technical support for the farming season.

The farms are captured under the state’s Agriprenuer programme, which prioritises the cultivation of a number of crops, including maize, cassava and rice. Over 10,000 hectares of land in various locations across the state are being cultivated under the agripreneur programme.

Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Communication Strategy, Mr. Crusoe Osagie said at the commencement of 2019 planting season, the farmers were assisted by the state government under its Agriprenuer programme with land clearing, distribution of seedlings, fertilizers and other farm inputs in Edo Central and Edo North Senatorial districts.

He added that the programme which is being run with technical input from Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk-Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) is designed to drive agricultural development through mechanized farming in the state, noting that the state government engaged in land-clearing to ensure the cost of land clearing is not borne by the farmers, while the mechanised farming was deployed to ensure the planting process is not so tedious.

The governor’s aide said other areas in the state where rice farming is currently ongoing include Iguoriakhi, Iguomon, Illushi, and Warake.

He noted that the state government intends to harvest 17,000 metric tons of rice by cultivating 4,000 hectares of land at the end of the planting season in 2019, stressing that off-takers are on ground to buy off the produce, so farmers are assured of buyers for their produce.

Osagie said the state government also engaged the services of NIRSAL as its technical partner, to derisk the investment and provide agronomists who will help farmers in the state.