…target 17,000 jobs, N2bn in returns
The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has sealed a deal with the Nigerian Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) for the expansion of the Edo Agripreneur Programme to cover other crops aside grains.
The programme is currently operating under the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Anchor-Borrower programme and covers only the cultivation of grains such as maize and rice.
The Edo State Agripreneur Programme is running across different locations in the state, including Sobe, in Owan West Local Government Area of Edo state.
Obaseki, speaking during his visit to the farm in Sobe, said the signing of the amended deal with NIRSAL became imperative following the success of the 2019 Agripreneur Programme, noting that the programme will now accommodate poultry, piggery as well as the cultivation of root and tuber crops.
The governor added that farming had become profitable under the programme, urging more residents especially youths to embrace the scheme.
He said the agripreneur programme was implemented to deal with challenges confronting farmers in the state as it relates to access to land, market and other farm inputs, adding that the assistance from NIRSAL to de-risk the investment ensured the success of the Agripreneur programme,
“We are encouraging large commercial farms. We want more local government councils to give us more land to extend our Agripreneur programme,” he said.
The governor commended President Muhammadu Buhari for directing the CBN to provide support to smallholder farmers in the country, noting that Nigeria’s problems could only be solved by good leadership.
The Managing Director of NIRSAL, Aliyu Abdulhameed, said with the success of the programme in 2019, funders and other stakeholders in the value chain would be encouraged to provide more funding under the model.
He added that the 2019 agripreneur maize farming programme was successful with 100 per cent increase in yields from 2 tons per hectare of maize output obtained by farmers to 4 tons per hectare, adding that the programme would create about 17,000 jobs for Edo indigenes and N1.98 billon market value in the long run.
He said the programme was aimed at supporting and improving the livelihood of 880 farmers on 4,400 hectares of land across the 18 Local Government Areas of the state.