The Kogi Government has promised to empower at least 99,000 smallholder farmers across the state in pursuit of its food production and agribusiness policy.
This was made by known by the Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr Kehinde Oloruntoba, at the monthly meeting of the Core Delivery Team (CDT) of the State Partnership for Agriculture (SPA) in Lokoja.
The meeting was organised by the SPA in collaboration with Synergos Nigeria.
Oloruntoba said that the beneficiary farmers in 2018 would be those who engaged in the production of food and cash crops, including cassava, rice, fishery and poultry.
He said that the state had keyed into the Economic Recovery Growth Plan (ERGP) of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to boost food production and develop the agricultural sector.
He said the state’s agricultural sector was expected to generate about N22.05 billion, 15 percent of this year’s budget of N147 billion.
The commissioner said that all the sub-sectors of the agricultural sector in the state were expected to contribute to the success of the programme.
Oloruntoba urged farmers to change their attitude toward farming, saying: “We cannot continue to do things the same way and expect different results; attitude is everything.’’
He emphasised the need for representatives of the ministry in the CDT to always allow the knowledge they gained at the various meetings to trickle down to other members of staff.
He said that in 2018, the government would establish four prototype cassava peels processing factories in different locations across the state to produce animal feeds.
“This is an initiative that we borrowed from Synergos Nigeria and we intend to replicate it across the state. So, we are planning to execute many programmes in 2018.
‘‘We thank Synergos for their intervention and pledge to do more; we look forward to better a collaboration,” he added.
Speaking, Synergos Country Director, Mr Adewale Ajadi, said that there was high demand for poultry and fish feeds processed from cassava peels.
Ajadi, who was represented by Mr Victor Adejoh, Synergos Field Manager for Kogi, Benue and Kaduna States, thanked the state government for its policies and programmes on agribusiness and its interest in smallholder farmers.
Participants at the meeting gave an account of their various ministries, departments and agencies in their efforts to move the agricultural sector forward.