Obaseki Seeks Support to Strengthen Agric Programmes

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The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki has urged international donors to support the government in executing sustainable agricultural programmes to check food security.

The governor made the call during a courtesy visit by the Joint Mission of the Federal Government of Nigeria, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), and International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) led by the IFAD Country Programme Manager, Dr. Patrick Habamenshiin, at the Government House in Benin City.

While commending IFAD on its impactful role across Africa, Obaseki said the assistance provided by the Fund can help leapfrog systems and institutions in Nigeria and Edo State.

He noted, “We have failed to create the real market for agricultural produce, economic culture, subsidizing agricultural produce and mixed pricing of exchange rate. These are some of the fundamental macro economic issues, which is not taking us anywhere. Agricultural business is a serious business in the country. Some of the macro economic situations are changing.

“As a government, our focus is how to be serious and help address the challenges. 50 to 60 years ago, our communities, society, and the economy were driven by agriculture. Commodity boards, farm institutions were well-organized, and people had a culture, but not anymore.”

Obaseki said, “As a governor for five years, I have not really seen the impact as I try to measure the impact by asking what has really changed? Agricultural Development Programme (ADP) Office carry a lot of signboards with all sorts of assisted programmes but yet no much impact or difference has been made in agricultural production and output. This is the major challenge, amongst other problems.

“Some assistance you are providing is to help us re-enact agriculture again because that is the only thing that can sustain us. Maybe the young ones don’t want to go into agriculture but technology has made things easy. Working together, we would like to deal with serious issues.”

The IFAD Country Programme Manager in Nigeria, Dr. Patrick Habamenshi said the delegation are in Edo State to carry out an implementation support mission, focusing on the state as it has one of the most dynamic programmes in Nigeria.