40,000 small holder farmers in Ogun State have been empowered with 2,000 cocoa seedlings, 5,000 cashew seedlings, 80,000 bundles of cassava cuttings and 80,000 kg maize.
Flagging off the presentation of the items, under “Covid-19 Planting Palliatives Materials for Small Holder Farmers”, at Agro Services Corporation, Ikenne, in Ikenne Local Government Area, the State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, said the empowerment was a proactive step to combat the envisaged food crisis after the pandemic.
Represented by his Wife, Mrs. Bamidele Abiodun, the Governor said, such priority was given to improved planting materials, in order to ensure food security, job opportunities and industrialisation.
“The importance of empowering the small holder farmers has become urgent and appropriate now that the world is faced with envisaged COVID-19 induced food crisis. Our dear state has prioritized the importance of improved planting materials in agricultural revolution”, he maintained.
The Governor disclosed that the items distributed would plant 3,200 hectares of maize, 1,600 hectares of cassava, boost food production and provide quality seedlings for the next planting season.
He added that, “each farmer receiving two kilogrammes of improved pollinated maize seeds and two bundles of cassava this season, would be able to take charge of his planting materials, which would be enough to plant seven hectares of maize and one cassava farms next season”.
In his welcome address, Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr. Adeola Odedina, maintained that the State was poised to put food on the tables of the people, despite the current Covid-19 pandemic, just as the State was responding positively to meet farmers’ needs.
“Just three weeks ago, the Governor, flagged off the commencement of the 2020 planting season and distribution of inputs to 3,500 beneficiaries for the first batch of Anchor Borrower’s Programme in the State. This renewed focus on Agric is a rapid response to the much envisaged Covid-19 food security challenge, due to global movement restriction that has affected all sectors”, Odedina said.
The Commissioner revealed that the Governor also approved the stalking of nine Agro Services Centres with seeds, weed killers, fertilizers and other agricultural inputs, assuring that government would continue to bring more people to agriculture, to ensure food security, job creation and agricultural industrialisation.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Dr. Dotun Sorunke, lauded the Governor for being a leader that foresees the future, expressing optimism that the programme would become merchants of progress and success.
Speaking on behalf of the beneficiaries, the Chairman, All Farmer Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Mr. Olusegun Dasaolu, thanked Governor Abiodun for his vision in agricultural sector, promising the Association’s unwavering support towards making the dream of food security and job creation through agriculture, a reality in the State.
A Cocoa Farmer and representative of the farmers, Adegoke Akingbade, noted that the intervention was timely, saying they have not experienced such in the years past, appreciating the State government for the gesture.
Other dignitaries who graced the occasion included; the Chairman, House Committee on Agriculture, Hon. Biodun Sylvester, the Alakene of Ikenne, Oba Adeyinka Onakade, the State Commandant, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, Commander, Ahmed Abolurin, among other partners.
Ahmed Taofeek & Tunwase Dokunmu,
Press Officers, Ministry of Agric