BusinessDay

Kogi committed to investing in agriculture through World Bank-assisted projects

In a bid to generate revenue, create jobs and make food readily available for citizens, the Kogi State government has reiterated its commitment towards investing more in agriculture through World Bank-assisted projects.

Edward Onoja, Kogi State deputy governor, stated this at a cluster farm centre in Ajaokuta during an oversight function by the officials of Kogi State APPEALS project aimed at accessing the performance of farmers who received farm inputs and grants recently to enhance rice, cassava and cashew value chain during 2020 wet season.

Onoja, who was at Geregu, ASCO Camp rice production farm centre, equally expressed satisfaction with the performance of the rice farmers and assured that APPEALS project will look at the challenges in the farm with a view to finding solution before the next wet season farming.

“There is every need to diversify the state’s economy to agriculture and in view of this, our governor has done a lot in driving the agricultural sector to a greater height so that the potentials that abound in the sector can be tapped to generate revenue, create jobs and provide a livelihood to the citizens.

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“Governor Bello has consistently latched on to most Federal Government, CBN, World Bank-assisted projects to ensure that beyond what the state is doing through Ministry of Agriculture, other projects like the APPEALS project benefit Kogi farmers,” he said.

He also commended APPEALS project for assisting Kogi State farmers with inputs and grants, as he called on other state governors to take the issue of security seriously to prevent the senseless killing of farmers by terrorists in their farm centres.

Speaking also, Abdullahi Sanni Ozomata, Kogi State coordinator, World Bank Assisted Agro-Processing Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support – APPEALS project – told cashew farmers at Umomi community in Ofu LGA that the purpose of the visit was to check the farmers in their farms to know what they are doing with the input and grants given to them to boost their production.

Ozomata also stated that the programme was designed to assist farmers so that they can make fortune from what they are doing in the farm, adding that the era of middlemen taking over their benefits is over. He urged the farmers to take the advantage of the grants and input given to them to expand their farms and improve their livelihood, assuring that the project will commence capacity building for all the farmers to enhance their productivity.

He further revealed that APPEALS project has started profiling to enable the office to identify a new set of rice and cashew farmers, noting that the project is continuous and it will benefit a lot of farmers in the state.

Umaru Ahmed, the cluster chairman of ASCO Camp rice production farm centre, said in his 10 years of farming he has never seen an agricultural project that assisted farmers from land preparation to harvesting stage like APPEALS project, pointing out that in Ajaokuta community 110 farmers benefitted from the APPEALS input and grants.

However, he lamented that the 2020 flood disaster submerged some of their rice farms, but they were able to record high harvest compared to previous years.

Ahmed, who is a graduate of Mechanical Engineering from the Federal University Minna, Niger State, urged Nigerian youths to venture into farming rather than waiting endlessly for white-collar jobs that are not readily available.

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