Agency to support 40,000 farmers with free inputs

 The Ogun Government on Friday said no fewer than 40,000 farmers would benefit from the free farm inputs to be distributed by the state Economic Transformation Project (OGSTEP).

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the agency is an initiative being sponsored by the World Bank to support farmers in the state.

Dr Oluseyi Olugbere, Acting Project Manager Agric Sector, OGSTEP, said this at the familiarisation, validation and distribution of free inputs to farmers at Sode village, Obafemi town and Ajerose village in Obafemi Owode Local Government Area of the state.

Olugbere said the exercise was meant to strengthen the agricultural value-chain by supporting the smallholder farmers with improved seedlings including maize, cassava, cocoa, cashew, and rice among others.

According to her, the support will improve the farmers’ livelihood, boost food production, create jobs and also increase the private sector participation in the state with regard to boosting the economy.

“Our objective of the project is to support 40,000 farmers that are involved in all the value-chain the project is supporting for a five-year cycle.

“The support is being designed in a way that a farmer will contribute at least one hectare of farmland, where the seedlings will be planted and during harvesting, they will be linked to the off- takers.

“We already have off-takers’ involvement, value chain development firms that will be coming around to monitor and make sure they produce profitably,’’ the acting project manager said.

According to Olugbere, Ogun is one of the lucky states, as only two states, Ogun and Kaduna benefited from the economic transformation project.

She noted, however, that the project would be supporting eight value chains which include: rice, maize, cassava, cocoa, Horticulture Aquaculture, poultry and livestock.

In his remarks, the Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr Adeola Odedina, said that the state government would continue to take advantage of policies and projects capable of empowering farmers, and contribute to the socio-economic growth of the state.

Odedina described the move as pivotal for the state, adding that more supports would be provided for the farmers including the repair of link roads to various farms across the state, and credit facilities, among others.

He said the distribution of the free seedlings would be replicated in other local government areas of the state.

The Olu of Obafemi town, Oba Taofeek Owolabi, on behalf of the farmers, commended the state government for the kind gesture and for extending the state’s agricultural interventions to the local government.

He pledged to continue to support the state government’s quest to develop the agricultural sector and improve food production.

Responding on behalf of the farmers, Mr Ayodele Emmanuel, Mrs Taiwo Shonimade and Mrs Folake Adelanmwa, commended the state government for the support.

They promised to make effective use of the inputs to boost food production. (NAN)