As the Edo State government has indicated interest to cultivate over 300,000 hectares of new farmland across the state in the next three years, a non-government organisation has also mapped out plans to assist farmers in the cultivation of 3,000 acres of cassava farms.
BusinessDay reports that the NGO, Partnership Initiatives in the Niger Delta (PIND), was founded and funded by Chevron Multi-national Oil Company.
The NGO is collaborating with the Edo State government to cultivate 1000 hectares of cassava in each of the three senatorial districts of the state.
The farms will be located at Emuhu farm settlement in Edo South, Ekpoma farm settlement in Edo Central and Sobe farm settlement in North senatorial districts, respectively.
The farms, which would be established in conjunction with the state ministry of agriculture and natural resources for the development of cassava value chain project, would be managed by the Edo State Co-operative Farmers Agency Limited (ESCFA).
Sam Daibo, executive director, PIND, disclosed this to BusinessDay in an exclusive interview in Benin City, at the 2013 edition of the Niger Delta Development Forum (NDDF) with the theme, ‘Promoting new approaches for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises in the Niger Delta.’
According to him, PIND is currently in talks with the Edo State government on a joint venture cassava out-grower scheme between Thai farms and Edo State Co-operative Farmers Agency Limited, requiring 3,000 farmland with support and approval of the state government.
“Thai farms are processor and they have capacity to produce high quality cassava flour and they are looking for cassava tubers. These guys travelled as far as Kwara and Kogi states to get tubers. And we said fine and Edo State has plenty of land and rich in cassava why don’t we work together. So, the state government is working on that programme and our expectation is that currently we are working with the Edo State government to see if they can make available about 3,000 acres of land.
“And if that is made available and cultivated as well as produce enough tubers to feed into this processes plant, a large number of persons will be engaged. What we look at is the whole value chains. It is not just about farmers but also processors, services providers, technical, financial services providers among others,” he said.
Daibo said the initiative was geared towards boosting cassava market for farmers in the Niger Delta, noting that the organisation developed a market linkage between Thai farms and the Edo State Farmers’ Co-operative Agency (ESCFA), as Thai farms was the largest producer of high quality cassava flour in the country.
IDRIS UMAR MOMOH