The Edo State Government through its Agriprenuer programme has distributed seedlings, fertilizers and other farm inputs to farmers in Edo Central and Edo North Senatorial districts, ahead of the new planting season.
The programme, with technical input from Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk-Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), is in support of the administration’s plan to drive agricultural development in the state.
Speaking during the official flag-off in Irrua, Esan-Central Local Government and Weppa, Etsako East LGA, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security Programme, Prince Joe Okojie, represented by Churchill Oboh, said the distribution marks the commencement of mechanized farming in the areas.
He noted: “The farmers can now hit the ground running. Since the entire process is mechanized, the farmers can now take their seeds to the planters who would administer them immediately.”
Okojie urged the farmers “to be diligent and adhere to instructions of the technical partners and extension workers during and after planting, and to remain positive.”
Members of the Usugbenu Farmers Association in Irrua, Esan-Central LGA, were given 25kg per hectare of maize seedlings to cultivate 180 hectares with each farmer expected to cultivate five hectares.
At Weppa, farmers selected for the first phase of the exercise got rice seedlings and are expected to cultivate 140 hectares, with each farmer expected to cultivate five hectares. The farmers promised to utilise the opportunity to boost food security in the state.
The chairman of Usugbenu Farmers Association, Mr. Bello Austin, hailed the administration for demonstrating commitment to the initiative.
According to him: “In the past, it used to be paperwork, but thank God the state government has shown enough commitment by bringing these inputs.”
Vice chairman of the Farmers Association in Irrua, Akhiwu Ehidiamhen, said: “We are happy the seedlings are here. We are also happy that the state government has fulfilled its promise to us.”
Other farm inputs distributed include fertilizers, herbicides and fungicides.