Not less than 3,102 rice farmers have received farm inputs worth over N820 million in Ekiti State under the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)/ Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) Anchor Borrowers Programme.
Bode Adetoyi, the State commissioner for Agriculture and Food Security, who made this known in Aisegba-Ekiti, described the development as a fulfilment of the promise of Governor Kayode Fayemi to boost food security and make the State a leader in rice production in Nigeria.
Adetoyi explained that each of the benefitting farmers paid a counterpart fund of N21,000 and were allocated 1 hectare of land in a cluster as well as given inputs such as rice seed, pre and post emergence chemicals, rice selective herbicides, organic and inorganic fertilizers, pesticides, knapsack sprayers and water pumping machines all at a cost of N264,400 only.
While advising farmers interested in participating in the government’s agricultural scheme to register with the State Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security to benefit from various opportunities created by the Fayemi led administration, Adetoyi said that the present government in the State has also raised hybrid cocoa and cashew seedlings for free distribution to farmers.
He added that a lot had, in addition, been done to develop the maize and cassava value chain.
The on-going construction of 1,000 kilometre roads across the State, he noted, was embarked upon to ease transportation and boost commercial activities and assured that the road works would be completed before the end of the administration.
In his remarks, Lanre Sholaja, the State Coordinator of the project and director, JMK Rice Mill, Ado-Ekiti, stated that the farm produce would be taken off the farmers after harvest and thereafter properly valued, adding that the cost of inputs would then be deducted from the valued sums while the balance would be paid to respective farmers as their profits.
Sholaja noted that the scheme had reawakened the consciousness of Ekiti farmers in the production of rice in commercial quantities adding that Governor Fayemi has succeeded in not only boosting food production in the State but has also created job opportunities for youths and reducing unemployment in the State.
He advised the benefiting farmers to make judicious use of the items given to them in order to achieve the desired goal.
Responding, Aisegba Ekiti, Sunday Olajolumo, the President of the Agriculture arm of Aanuoluwapo Cooperative Multipurpose Union, expressed gratitude to Governor Fayemi for his efforts at improving the lot of farmers and boosting food production in the State.
Olajolumo promised on behalf of the benefiting farmers to judiciously utilize the largesse.