June 14, 2024

Plateau begins cultivation of 6,000 hectares of land in displaced communities

Plateau pension/gratuities

To assist the displaced persons in Plateau State to earn a living, the State Governor, Caleb Mutfwang has directed an extensive mechanized farming intervention for 6,000 hectares of land across the displaced communities in the State using the State-owned Agricultural Services Training Centre and Marketing Limited, ASTC&M Ltd.

Flagging off the exercise in the Mangu Local Government, the State Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Samson Bugama, reiterated the Governor’s concern about the displaced persons and efforts being intensified to return them home.

His words, “Today marks the beginning of a comprehensive engagement in the field. The strategy is to provide mechanization services to displaced communities and help them return to their livelihoods.

“The Governor has commissioned the mechanization service intervention. We are targeting 6,000 hectares as resources are available and would do the minimum of 3,000 hectares. We will provide seeds to bring a bumper harvest and provide food.

“The intervention focuses primarily on displaced communities. However, the scope may extend to other areas as resources allow. Our major goal is to resettle displaced communities back into their farming activities.

“Governor Mutfwang is deeply concerned about the hunger problem, and this intervention is a deliberate effort to boost food production and reduce prices.”

The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of ASTC & M Ltd, Susan Bentu explained that the four-week cultivation period would cover areas in the three Zones of the State, with a focus on maize, potatoes, and rice, depending on the zone.

She noted, “ASTC is a household name, we are dedicated to assisting farmers, whether in rain-fed or dry seasons. This intervention programme which starts from crop cultivation to harvest is free, the State government covers all the costs.

“The communities in the Northern Zone are Jol, Wereng, Kwi, Rim, Bachit, Sho, Vom-Chol, some parts of Jos East, and the Breweries and Agricultural Research Company, BARC Farms.

“The Central Zone will cover; Tam, Aloghom, Vodni, Pushit, Changal, Kombili, Washna, Larkas, Longkat Irrigation, Chip, Mabel, Butura, Manguna, and Mbar communities. The Southern Zone will include Wase River, Shendam Dam, Jenta Yelwa, Shimangkar, Pandam, Sabon Gida, Namu, and Gidan Adamu.

“Our vision is to raise self-sufficient farmers, financially stable and empowered, contributing to the State’s food security and economic stability.”

She stressed, “The intervention in mechanized farming for farmers, is principally in displaced areas as well as for those in large clusters.

“There is a youth empowerment programme that has also been approved and we will be cultivating for the youths at BARC farms. We will go to the three Senatorial zones on different days.

“It is an intensive programme and we are set to change the narrative where agriculture is a concern in the State. For each zone, we will concentrate on their areas of strength, the zones have been designated into crop zones.

“The outcome of the intervention last year was awesome, the communities are calling for more, in the first phase, we had 900 hectares, this time, we have more than tripled the scope of operation.
“The ASTC has a fleet of 300 tractors with a big capacity, 165 horsepower, the personnel is motivated, ready and willing to deliver.”

Meanwhile, to ensure the safety of the crops, local self-help and the service of the Agro-Rangers of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC have been mobilized for early warning signals as Bugama assured that the government would not allow “the wastage of government investment in the communities.”