• Friday, July 19, 2024
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Ogun launches 10 hectares cassava pilot farm

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The agricultural transformation policy of the Ogun State government will soon get a major boost as the state governor, Ibikunle Amosun launches a 10-hectare cassava pilot farm promoted by Caterina de’ Medici Africa Projects Ltd (CDMA) at Ikenne.

The pilot farm, which will serve as a prelude to a bigger 4,000 hectares cassava farm to be supported by Thai Farms International Ltd and other investors, is supported by the USAID-Nigeria Expanded Trade and Transport Program (NEXTT) and several local banks.

Foluke Michael, principal partner of CDMA, said the project will adopt modern farming methods, conduct training for local farmers, supply the farmers with agro-chemical to improve farm yield, and provide other extension services to all its partners.

“The partnership with the state will also help to build public infrastructure changes in agricultural policy,” she said.

The Ogun State government is supporting the programme with a total of 4,000 hectares of land, which it has allocated to CDMA, in the belief that the large population of smallholder farmers and entrepreneurs in the state will benefit directly from the programme.

The governor is presently encouraging wide participation of farmers to ensure continuous engagement of youths in the host communities.

Michael said the programme, tagged “CDMA-NEXTT Initiative (CNI),” will contribute to food security and poverty reduction in Nigeria. The project seeks to generate massive employment, especially of youth in the immediate community, creates wealth though investment facilitation and opportunity for export of farm produce.

The initiative will also support regional trade and transportation objectives, by facilitating trade flows and complements agricultural productivity improvement efforts under the United States’

government’s food security initiative Feed-the-Future. The US initiative has three programme activities, which NEXTT is implementing on behalf of the USAID. These include improvement along the Lagos – Kano –J ibiya (LAKAJI) agro-investment corridor, and reform of government policy to aid investment and trade.

“The CNI is an example of development we would like to encourage along the Lakaji corridor,” Alf Monaghan, chief of party for NEXTT, said. CDMA was incorporated to promote agribusiness and investments in Nigeria by partnering government bodies and local communities to develop agricultural productivity; helping youth to see agriculture as a profitable business; develop solid relationship with end-buyers through established markets, and sourcing funds locally and internationally to support agriculture.