With the current buzz in the agricultural sector being witnessed in Nigeria, the Edo state government has finalised deals on a partnership with the Nigeria Incentive Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) and Sterling Bank as regards development of at least 1500 hectares of farmland in different locations across the state.
Meanwhile, Edo State Acting Governor, Philip Shaibu, who revealed this when a team from NIRSAL paid a courtesy visit to the Government House in Benin City, assured farmers in the state of adequate incentives to boost enhance smooth disposal of their farming activities.
He further maintained that the state government will do everything possible to bring out the best for the partnership, as it ensures that farmers get necessary support to fast track the introduction of mechanised farming in the state.
According to him, “I commend the banking sector for coming to the rescue of the agricultural sector. They are making the process of introducing farmers to new techniques and technologies easy. This will help in boosting productivity.”
He also stated that the government designed an entrepreneur programme for youths, which will help in grooming them for profitable agro-business ventures .
Special Adviser to the Governor on Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security Programme, Hon. Joe Okojie, reiterated that agriculture remains the easiest and fastest way to create wealth.
“People don’t pay much attention to agriculture in this country, but this system seems different in the sense that it is going to be strictly mechanised. We aggregate all the farmers, link them to funding, inputs and markets.”
He said there are numerous awaiting consumers and customers waitingfor whatever the farmers produce, which inturn will possibly motivate the farmers in developing large expanse of farmland.
According to him, “For instance, we have a rice belt in Iguoriakhi, where we are doing above 500 hectares of rice. We aggregated all the farmers that have been traditionally farming rice and helped in developing the land. We brought in the NIRSAL, to take it from mechanisation to harvesting.
“In Illushi, we are doing about 1000 hectares of rice farming. That is also in our rice belt. We would aggregate the farmers in that area and improve their productivity.”
Head, Agricultural Field Services, NIRSAL, Ibrahim Abdullahi said that the collaboration between the organisation and the Edo state government would improve the fortune of farmers in Edo State.
This recent development in Edo State’s agriculture will possibly give rise to healthy competition amongst states with the country. Thereby, giving room for other states to encourage the occupation of farming to citizens.