The Edo State government has said fertilisers, crop protection products and cassava cuttings have been given to 3,500 farmers under the state’s Independent Farmers Initiative (IFI) to boost food security in the state and stimulate post-coronavirus economy.
The Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Hon. Richard Uyi Edebiri, who disclosed this during the inauguration of the initiative in Umegbe Community, Oredo Local Council Area, said the programme is targeted at encouraging more farmers to contribute to the state government’s vision to achieve food security.
He said, 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 analyse 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) warehouse,” he added.
According to Edebiri, “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, Mr. Oyedo David, commended the government for supporting the independent farmers with cassava stems and fertiliser. 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 were 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 20-10-10 and Urea), among others.