No fewer than 50,000 persons, including farmers, logistics operators and food processors, farm managers, among others, have benefitted from agricultural programmes implemented by the Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, in the past three and a half years.
In a statement, Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Communication Strategy, Crusoe Osagie, said the beneficiaries were involved in the cultivation of over 10,000 hectares of farmland across the state supporting farmers spread across different locations in the state, including Agenebode, Warrake, Usugbenu, Iguoriakhi, Illushi, Iguomo, Oria, Udo, Ekpoma, Ozalla, Ome-Ora, Agbede, Evbonogbon and Sobe in the state.
He said while some of the programmes are implemented in conjunction with the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending Plc (NIRSAL), and the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Commercial Agricultural Credit Scheme (CACS), others are driven by private sector investors such as Elephant Group, Agrotek, Pemo Farms Limited, Dufil Prima and Asanita.
According to him, “Our agricultural programmes hinge on the huge potential of agriculture for wealth and job creation that could guarantee Edo people better life. Governor Obaseki has implemented well thought-out, strategic and far-reaching reforms that attract and retain investments in oil palm, cassava, maize, yam, rubber, cocoa, rice, vegetables, aquaculture and livestock production.”
He noted that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is investing a whopping N69 billion in the Edo State Oil Palm Programme (ESOPP), adding that the Edo State Agripreneur programme, which commenced in 2017, is part of the Governor Obaseki-led administration’s strategies to boost Micro, Small-scale and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and sustain current youth-focused agricultural initiatives in the state.
According to him, “Under the scheme, over 10,000 hectares of rice, maize, cassava, soybean, and other crops are being cultivated in Agenebode, Warrake, Usugbenu, Iguoriakhi and Sobe. There were over 55,000 young beneficiaries while nearly 20,000 jobs were created under the initiative. In addition, the Edo Food and Agriculture Cluster (Edo-FAC) in Ehor, Uhunmwode LGA has benefited over 1,300 farmers. There is also a farm mechanisation programme for commercial agriculture in the state.”