Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State said it has become necessary for Nigerians to invest in agriculture, by growing what they eat to guarantee food and national security, in view of the Coronavirus pandemic ravaging the globe.
He stated this in his address at the flag-off of the 2020 season and distribution of inputs to the first batch of Cassava Value Chain Beneficiaries under the Anchor Borrowers Programme, held on Monday, in Abeokuta.
Abiodun stressed the need for the country to be self- reliant in food production, as this would not only ensure the availability of food to its citizens at all times but also guarantee overall national security.
“The fact that almost all the nations of the world have closed their borders has brought to the fore the importance of growing what we eat agenda. We see the importance of self-reliance in food production.
“I am sure we are all now aware of the importance and relation of food production, not only food security, but the overall security of the nation in general and our dear State in particular”, he said.
Prince Abiodun maintained that his administration had taken steps to ensure that agricultural activities go on smoothly despite the COVID-19 restriction, by allowing and providing support for food production.
He added that as part of the State COVID-19 induced food challenge, the government modified Road-plan for agriculture this year, by including residential training of additional 5,000 youths in all the Local Government Areas.
The governor who expressed delight with the progress made by the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP), which he said has continued to receive huge acceptance from major stakeholders.
He said the ABP added has recorded 27,000 registration, the highest in the country, thus indicating the ability to use agriculture and cassava crop as a means of providing jobs for the youth.
“3,500 Anchor Borrower Programme nominees in the State have been provided with fund and link with agricultural inputs and fields ready for tiling and planting an improved Diseased Resistance Cassava.
“60,000 registrations have been recorded for seven crops and cassava recorded 25,000 applications. 2,497 farmers accredited with N500m in March 2020, by CBN, while additional payment of over N180m was accredited to additional 900 farmers in April 2020″, the Governor submitted.
While noting that the State government in collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria and the National Cassava Grower Association, has put in place a technology-driven mechanism to checkmate sales and diversion of inputs, Governor Abiodun said each of the 2,500 youths who had registered for the Anchor Borrower Programme, would be linked to additional N530m and given 60 bundles of improved cassava stems, four bags of fertilizer and weed killers, while additional 2,500 hectares of land cleared in 16 locations of the agricultural zones would be allocated to them.
In his remark, the Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr Adeola Odedina, noted that the State was currently running the biggest Anchor Borrowers Programme in Cassava in the whole of Africa, saying that the programme which was an exemplary one, was anchored on mechanical planting system.
” We are running the biggest Anchor Borrowers Programme in Cassava in the whole of Africa. 27,000 farmers had applied for opportunities in cassava out of the 60,000 beneficiaries, this is the biggest Anchor Borrowers Programme in this continent, the Ogun State Anchor Borrowers Programme is exemplary,” he said.
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