Not less than 3,500 farmers in Edo State have benefited from Governor Godwin Obaseki’s Independent Farmers Initiative (IFI) designed to boost food security in the state’s post-coronavirus (COVID-19) economy.
Addressing the farmers at the flag off of the initiative in Umegbe Community, Oredo Local Government Area, Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Hon. Richard Uyi Edebiri, said the programme aims to encourage more farmers to contribute to the state government’s vision to achieve food security.
He said through the initiative, the Governor Obaseki-led administration provided fertilisers, crop protection products and cassava cuttings to farmers while training is being organised to assist them in improving their yields.
He noted that the initiative would guarantee food security in the state during and after COVID-19 pandemic, adding, “As we all know, the smallholder farmers contribute a lot to our food base in the state. It is wise to put in place a programme for the farmers to be involved in getting us through the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“What we did was to analyze the data of some of the farmers we have in the state and cluster them for better coordination. We spoke with them to know if they have land to farm and they were able to come up with the required criteria. We have a lot of inputs already stored at the Agricultural Development Agency (ADP) wharehouse,” he added.
The commissioner said: “Umegbe Community in Oredo LGA is the first community we are visiting to give farmers the inputs. About 3,500 farmers will benefit from the first phase of this programme. We have their data, audited it and visited their farms. The exercise is going to cover the 18 LGAs in the state.”
A beneficiary of the initiative, Mr. Oyedo David, expressed appreciation to Governor Obaseki for supporting the independent farmers with cassava stems and fertilisers. He noted that the support would provide them needed incentives to manage their farms and make good returns.
Another beneficiary, Mrs. Nkiruka Uzowuru, said, “This is the first time we are getting such assistance from any state government.”
The Programme Manager, ADP, Mr. Peter Aikhuomobhogbe, said, there are so much inputs stored at the ADP warehouse to be distributed to the farmers, ranging from maize seeds, rice seeds, crop protection products, agro-chemicals, cassava cuttings, fertilisers (MPK 201010 and Uriea), among others.