Godwin Obaseki

Edo State Government says no fewer than 2, 000 farmers are benefiting from over 10,600 hectares agricultural project in different parts of the state.

The special adviser to the Governor on Media and Communication Strategy, Mr Crusoe Osagie, made this known in a statement in Benin on Tuesday.

Osagie said that 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 Governor’s Aide said that the priority crops planted included cassava, maize and rice, which were being cultivated in the state.

He said that mechanised farming was being deployed to ensure that planting process was not tedious and to get optimal yield.

Osagie said rice farming was currently ongoing in Iguoriakhi, Iguomon, Illushi, Agenebode and Warake while maize farms were in Ekpoma, Usugbenu and Sobe.

According to him, there is an off-taker agreement and the project intends to harvest 17,000 metric tonnes of rice by cultivating 4,000 hectares of land and 11,000 tonnes of maize by cultivating 6,600 hectares of land at the end of the planting season of 2019.

“Off-takers are on ground to buy off the produce, so farmers are assured of buyers for their produce.

He said that not less than 2,000 farmers were expected to benefit from the agricultural project as farmers were being trained to maintain standards set by agricultural extension officers engaged in the scheme.

He said that the state government engaged the services of NIRSAL as its technical partner, to derisk the investment and provide agronomists who would help farmers in the state.

Osagie added that the agricultural scheme was outside the plan for Dufil’s investment to develop 5,000 hectares of palm plantation in the state.

Special Adviser to the Governor on Agriculture, Food Security and Forestry Programme, Prince Joe Okojie, said that the state government was leveraging on the Central Bank of Nigeria to drive its agricultural programmes.

Okojie said: “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 N100 million for irrigation.

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