Smallholder farmers and other stakeholders in the agriculture sector in Edo State have commended the Governor Godwin Obaseki-led administration’s sustained investment in the sector, to ensure food sufficiency, create jobs and improve livelihoods amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The commendation came on the heels of the commencement of planting in government-backed farm settlements across the state.
Special Adviser to the Governor on Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security Programme, Prince Joe Okojie, said with support from the state government’s agriprenuer programme, the farmers in the farm settlements have been supported with machinery and other materials for tilling, harrowing, ploughing for the 2020 farming season.
According to the governor’s aide, “The state government will not relent in supporting the farmers to achieve a bumper harvest. We are excited that the rice seeds planted in Warrake and Illushi farms has sprouted. We are confident that the yield will be rich as we are focusing on sustaining a robust agriculture-based economy during and in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic.”
He said the state government’s ongoing investments in the agriculture sector are designed to spur agribusiness, agro-processing and other agro-allied sectors in the state, noting, “We will continue to assist farmers in government’s backed farms across the state in managing the farming activities as we offer agronomic support to the farmers.”
A farmer in Warrake rice farm, Owan East Local Government Area (LGA), Suleman Momoh, said with the support provided by the state government, farmers are ready to cash in in the agriculture-based post COVID-19 economy.
He said with the mechanized farming system put in place by the state government, farming has become attractive, as new job opportunities have been created for youths.
Another farmer in Illushi rice farm, Monday Nana, said “With the use of mechanised farm equipment under the Edo State Agripreneur programme, farming is now less tedious for us farmers in the state. Those of us who were into subsistence farming in the past have been encourage to scale up to commercial farming.
“I’m confident that farmers will make more money from this year’s farming season considering the massive support by the state government which has prepared us much ahead to meet with the high demand resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak.”