By Felix Omorodion, Benin
The Edo State Government has set aside 1000 hectares for cassava cultivation in the state, as part of its agriprenuer programme targeted at galvanizing women farmers towards realizing its food security target.
In a statement signed by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Godwin Okonofua, the state government said the 1000 hectares of land are dedicated for cassava production under the women empowerment initiative.
He noted that the state sourced funds from the Central Bank of Nigeria under the auspices of the Commercial Agricultural Credit Scheme towards implementing the project.
“The government has undertaken to clear 1,000 hectares at Oria, Esan South East Local Government Area for its women empowerment initiative,” he said.
The state government is pursuing a holistic agricultural programme that prioritises key crops, notably rice, maize, cassava and oil palm, with heavy public and private sectors’ involvement.
While the state government is working with the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk-Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) for the projects on rice and maize, using mechanized farming, private companies are expanding their investments in oil palm plantations, with new entrants bolstering the agricultural scene in the state.
In a recent chat with journalists, Special Adviser to Governor Obaseki on Agriculture, Food Security and Forestry, Prince Joe Okojie, said the state government accessed N5bn from the CBN for its agricultural programme. Of the money, he said N2.2bn would be used for crop production, N2.3bn for land development and N100m for irrigation.
He explained that N1.2bn would be used to cultivate rice in Iguoriakhi, Iguomon, Illushi, Warrake and Agenebode while Maize would be cultivated at Usugbenu, Sobe and Ekpoma.