BusinessDay

Firm to support 10,000 Delta farmers boost income

Revemi Trade Limited, the award winner of COVID-19 Food Security Challenge 2021, says it is targeting 10,000 cassava farmers in Delta State to access market and other information they need to produce cassava in larger quantities so as to earn increased income and boost Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The company believed that with the collaboration of its sponsors and partners, the farmers could go beyond peasant farming to commercial farming as they embrace the mechanical method of agriculture.

They are expected to do so, especially now that cassava has been listed among commodities from Delta’s State with comparative advantage for export.

Already, the firm said it has reached out to 2,000 farmers in the state since September last year when it began the support programme.

Oreva Amata, the chief executive officer of the company made the disclosure while addressing newsmen at the end of the one-day enlightenment programme, tagged, “Eki Farmer Support Programme” which held at Ozoro, the headquarters of Isoko North local government area, Delta State, on Friday.

The enlightenment programme under the sponsorship of the United States International Agency for Development (USAID), has other partners like the Delta State Government through the ministry of agriculture, the UNIDO/Delta State Export Initiative and the Delta Small Medium Enterprise Development Office, Delta Job and Wealth Creation Office (YAGEP) among others.

Read also: Firm invests N24bn in integrated farm in Edo

Oreva, a development economist, said that engaging the farmers is part of the company’s efforts towards bridging the critical gap in food security in Africa.

“Every time, I hear farmers are poor but at the same time, I am seeing foreign multinationals make billions from agriculture.

“I think there must be a way to do things differently not just in Nigeria. Africa can begin to benefit from agriculture.”

He revealed why he decided to start the programme from Delta State. “For me, it is very important I start this project from my Delta because charity begins at home.

“We are planning to expand from here but my initial dream was to get farmers, link them up to people like Sam Askia in the best way possible and in the most cost-effective way, so that we can begin to increase these farmers’ income and how much they earn.”

He frowned at the fact that the farmers use cutlasses and holes as tools instead of modern technology and harped on the need to change the narratives, towards progress.

“Agriculture is the first stage of development because it is the backbone of industrialization and job creation. There are so many unemployed youths in Delta State. We can engage them, he said.

To this end, he urged the farmers to form clusters of cooperative societies in order to benefit from the programme and grow to become mechanized farmers.

Sam Askia, managing director, Uzere Cassava Processing Factory in the state commended Revemi Trade Limited and its sponsor, the USAID for the initiative.

He called on the farmers to see farming as a business so they could benefit from the support initiative as well as gain from programmes that the government at the centre gives.

On the other hand, he challenged the government to provide an enabling environment for commercial farming to succeed.

“The job of the government is to provide enabling environment but it is the job of the citizens to take up their businesses seriously.

“If we say we are moving away from peasant farming to commercial agriculture, then, we must be able to develop the right template for that because if we have peace, security and favourable policies on agriculture, I think issue of land will be the least of our problems.

Others who spoke at the occasion were Friday Okei, a public analyst who encouraged the farmers to improve their processing methods so as to give value addition to their cassava in order for their products to attract huge buyers and make it beyond the local markets.

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