Ibrahim Oyewale, Lokoja
The Kogi State Government yesterday unveiled its food sufficiency plan under the Agro Processing, Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support (APPEALS) in a bid to make the state top producer of rice, cashew and cassava.
To achieve this goal, the state government revealed that it had released a sum of N633 million to fund the value chain investment plan (VCIP) produced by the farmers throughout the state.
The Deputy Governor and Chairman Steering Committee of APPEALS, Edward Onoja disclosed this plan during a visit to the state’s Agricultural Development Project (ADP) plant in Felele, Lokoja and Ogbogbo, Igalamela LGA to kick start the distributions to farmers.
According to him, some of the items distributed included rice seedlings, pressure sprayers, fertilizers, herbicides and personal protective equipment (PPEs) at Ajaokuta LGA and Ogbogbo, Igalamela Odolu LGA.
Onoja noted that the state government was keen to safeguard the lives of citizens and was determined to restore the state’s economy to an enviable height.
He said the APPEALS project was dear to the heart of Governor Yahaya Bello, noting that the policies aligned with his Agricultural Revolution Agenda already made clear since its inauguration in early 2016.
He said the project with focus on rice, cassava and cashew farming was aimed at promoting food sufficiency, while also putting Nigeria on the map as a net exporter.
He claimed that with a population of over 70 percent farmers, the state was committed to catering for the food needs of the country noting that the state planned to promote agriculture as a veritable means of business for every citizen, until it becomes the “food basket” of the nation.
The deputy governor urged the farmers to make good use of what was provided, and expand their businesses through the initiative.
Corroborating the deputy governor, the State Coordinator for APPEALS, Dr. Sani Ozomata described the event as timely, as the state was determined to return its farmers to the farms to quell the scourge of food scarcity and ultimately, revive the economy which in he said had been on a standstill since the beginning of the pandemic.
He stated that enhancing small and medium scale farmers, and making sure that farm input gets to the farmers at the right time remained a commitment of the project.
Ozomata said that over 698 rice farmers would benefit from the materials shared while 1720 hectares of land had been set aside for rice farming.