The Edo State Government has said it has over 10,600ha of land under cultivation in different parts of the state under its agricultural programmes benefitting not less than 2000 farmers distributed in the different farms in the three senatorial districts of the state.
The State Government embarked on a multi-faceted agricultural development scheme backed by the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), Elephant Group, and a number of other off-takers.
The priority crops include cassava, maize, rice, which are being cultivated in different locations across the state, including Ilushi, Iguoriakhi, Sobe, Warake, Iguomon, Agenebode, Usugbenu, Ekpoma, among others.
In a statement, Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Communication Strategy, Mr. Crusoe Osagie, said that the state has more than 10,600 hectares of land under cultivation in different parts of the state.
He added that the state government engaged in land-clearing to ensure the cost of land clearing is not borne by the farmers, noting that mechanised farming is being deployed to ensure that planting process is not so tedious.
The governor’s aide said rice farming is currently ongoing in Iguoriakhi, Iguomon, Illushi, Agenebode, and Warake while farmers are hard at work in maize farms in Ekpoma, Usugbenu, and Sobe.
According to him, “We have an off-taker agreement and intend 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. Off-takers are on ground to buy off the produce, so farmers are assured of buyers for their produce.
He explained that not less than 2000 farmers are expected to benefit from the agricultural programmes, stressing the need for the farmers to maintain standards set by agricultural extension officers engaged to provide extension services on their farms.
He added that the state government engaged the services of Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) as its technical partner, to derisk the investment and provide agronomists who will help farmers in the state.
Osagie noted that the scheme is outside the plan for Dufil’s investment in developing 5000ha of palm plantation in the state, and to source raw materials used in the production of popular instant noodles brand, Indomie, vegetable oil as well as power oil.
On his part, Special Adviser to the Governor on Agriculture, Food Security, and Forestry Programme, Joe Okojie, said the state government is leveraging on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to drive its agricultural programmes.
According to him, “We got N5 billion under the Commercial Agric Credit Scheme. About N2.2 billion is for crop production, N2.3 billion for land development and about N100m for irrigation.”