Edo farmers get N5bn investment for cultivation of over 10,600ha

… to check hoarding of petroleum products, to meet IPMAN, MOMAN leaders

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Edo State government says it is investing N5 billion drawn from the Central Bank of Nigeria‘s (CBN) Anchor Borrowers Programme on development of over 10,600 hectares of land, which will guarantee farmers in the state access to funding to boost productivity.
Special adviser to Edo State governor on Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security, Joe Okojie, disclosed this after sensitisation workshops for farmers who are to benefit from the programme in Ekpoma, Usogbenu and Illushi, during the Edo Central Senatorial district leg of engagement with the farmers. The farmers to benefit from the programme are drawn from all senatorial districts in the state.
Okojie said N1.2 billion would be expended on rice farming in Iguariaki, Iguomon, Illushi, Agenebode and Warake, and on maize cultivation in Ekpoma, Usugbenu and Sobe.
“We have set a target to harvest 17,000 metric tons of rice by cultivating 4,000 hectares of land and 11,000 tons of maize by cultivating 6,600 hectares of land at the end of the planting season in 2019. We took about N5 billion under the Commercial Agric Credit Scheme, about N2.2 billion is for crop production, N2.3 billion for land development and about N100m for irrigation,” he said.
The investment is aimed at producing millionaire agriprenuers by helping them scale up their production through mechanisation, he said, noting, “We have employed the services of Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) as our technical partner. NIRSAL is going to bring on board a lot of agronomists who will help our farmers.
“We want to deploy best practices for the cultivation of the crops this season and hope that we get better yield than the one that we got two years ago.”
Paul Jatau, field officer, NIRSAL, said NIRSAL was partnering Edo State government to provide technical support and inputs to the farmers, urging farmers to take advantage of the opportunity provided by the programme to scale their operations into commercial enterprises.
Meanwhile, in the wake of apprehension over scarcity of petroleum products in the state, the state government has warned petroleum marketers hoarding products and selling above pump price of N145/per litre to desist from the act, as those found culpable would be made to face the full wrath of the law.
The state commissioner for energy, oil and gas, Joseph Ugheoke, who gave this warning in a statement, said the state had called a meeting with executives of the Edo State chapter of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigerian (IPMAN) and Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), to strategise on how to ensure steady supply of petroleum products during the Easter celebrations.
According to Ugheoke, “It has come to the notice of the State Government that Petroleum Marketers are illegally hoarding and diverting Petroleum Products thereby creating unnecessary hiccups and tension in the Sector. All petroleum marketers are hereby enjoined to cooperate with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to ensure that petroleum products are promptly distributed.”
He assured Edo people of adequate supply of petroleum products across the state, particularly during the Easter period, noting, “I wish to use this medium to appreciate the general public for their cooperation and to invite the chairman of IPMAN and MOMAN to a meeting at the Ministry’s headquarters in Ezoti Street on Friday 12th April 2019, at 10am.”
Stating that the state government is working to ensure that petroleum marketers do not exploit members of the public, he said, “Any petroleum marketer found to be selling Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) above the stipulated price of N145 per litre or causing a hitch in the supply chain, will be made to face the full wrath of the law. All relevant security agencies and stakeholders in the petroleum sector are expected to adhere to government’s stand with regard to the above.”
 

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