By Monday Ajogun
The Edo State Government on Tuesday disclosed that it has earmarked about four hundred hectares of land for rice production during the 2019 farming season as part of its ‘Agri-Preneur’ programme.
The Special Adviser to Gov. Godwin Obaseki on Agriculture, Mr Joe Okojie, disclosed this when he led technical partners of the programme on a courtesy visit to Edo Government House in Benin.
Okojie said that the state government started a pilot scheme of the programme last year with six hundred hectares in Iguoriakhi, Illushi, Warrake and Agenebode in the three Senatorial districts of Edo.
He said that the success of the pilot scheme led to the expansion this year with 850,00 farmers to benefit on an average of five hectares per farmer.
Okojie said that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) would be providing funds, while the Nigeria Incentive Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) would provide technical support to the farmers to minimise all risks.
Mr Ibrahim Abdulahi, the Head of Agric Field Services in NIRSAL, said that the project would use best agricultural practices at making profits of one million naira per five hectares.
Mr Philip Shaibu, the Edo Acting Governor, said that the design of the “agri-preneur” programme was to grow food locally, create wealth and ultimately grow the economy.
Shaibu said that the economy of the state must be private sector driven, adding that government would partner agencies that would assist in growing the economy of the state.